Another week, more power rankings. A tough week for some, as teams trended both ways. The next two weeks will be imperative for teams, should they want a chance to win the MAC in Cleveland.
Before we start, we did want to make a housekeeping note regarding NIU. With the program nearing a month without playing a single game, we’ve taken them out of our rankings until they’re able to grace the hardwood once again.
NIU’s current status has already affected their game Tuesday against Toledo, resulting in its cancelaltion, but they are still scheduled to play against Kent State on Saturday. That game would be their first in 28 days— should it be played as scheduled. With a shortage of games, the Huskies will need every win they can grab once they do get back, as winning percentage will ultimately determine the seeds for the conference tournaments.
With that said, here are the 11 teams we did rank this week:
11. Eastern Michigan 4-8 (1-7)
Last week: No games
The Eastern Michigan Eagles had both of their games postponed this week. Without playing a single game, they weren’t able to work on that four game losing streak, much less get out of the basement of the conference. They’ve already gotten their game on Tuesday against Miami postponed, but are scheduled to play host to Ball State on Saturday. The Eagles are running out of time, and need to turn it around fast.
10. Central Michigan 6-12 (2-9)
Last week: L 83-69 Vs. Ohio | L 65-67 Vs. Western Michigan
Another team having a tough time of late are the Central Michigan Chippewas. A team that didn’t look terrible at the beginning of the season, they just can’t get anything going anymore. The Chippewas are on a five-game losing streak, including a loss to bitter rival ( and fellow basement dweller) Western Michigan. Morale is certainly at a point where it can’t get much worse for CMU. They host Ball State and Buffalo this week, hoping to turn it around and work their way back into position to make the tournament.
9. Western Michigan 4-11 (3-7)
Last week: W 76-70 Vs. Bowling Green | W 67-65 Vs. Central Michigan
For the first time all season, the Western Michigan Broncos swept the week in conference play. A huge upset over Bowling Green on Wednesday for their first conference win since the calendar flipped to 2021 helped propel them to a second-straight MAC win against their rivals, the Central Michigan Chippewas. The Broncos sit in ninth place, on the bubble of the tournament, but they’ll need some help to get in. They only play one game this week, as their contest against Ohio has already been postponed.
8. Miami 8-5 (5-3)
Last week: L 68-77 Vs. Kent State | L 64-88 Vs. Buffalo
Not a good week for the Miami RedHawks as they drop both their games, getting blown out by Buffalo. The pair of losses dropped them all the way down to seventh in the standings, not a good spot to be late in the season, with only the top eight making the conference tournament. They’ll only have one game this week to try to work their way back up the standings, as their game against Eastern Michigan has already been canceled. They’ll have a shot at a good Akron team come Friday.
7. Ball State 7-9 (5-6)
Last week: L 58-78 Vs. Buffalo | W 81-67 Vs. Toledo
An interesting week for the Cardinals ended with a huge win over the top team in the conference. Ball State had a real bad loss to Buffalo, really not competing at all in the ballgame against the Bulls the game before, making the Cards’ erformance vs. Toledo even more confounding. Three-point shooting was key for the Cardinals last week, as they shot only 22 percent (7-32) from behind the arc against Buffalo, then shot an outstanding 41 percent (15-37) from three. When the shots fall, this Ball State team can beat anyone in the conference. It’ll be key for them to make their shots if they want to make a run late in the season.
6. Bowling Green 10-6 (6-4)
Last week: L 70-76 Vs. Western Michigan
The Falcons are in a rough spot right now. Losers of their last five, they haven’t been able to do much of anything well of late. They sit in a decent spot as of now, but they could be fighting to even make it to Cleveland should they not find a way to win anytime soon. The Falcons are only slated for one game this week, but that’s a Saturday game against Toledo, which isn’t the easiest way to get back on the right foot.
5. Kent State 10-5 (7-4)
Last week: W 77-68 Vs. Miami | L 61-72 Vs. Akron
The Golden Flashes continued on their winning ways to start this week, taking a big win over Miami. The win helped Kent State move up in the standings, currently sitting at third in the conference. Their second game of the week, against Akron, wasn’t as good. They competed for most of the time, but they just couldn’t get by the Zips. Kent State only has one game scheduled this week, and it should be Northern Illinois’ first game back after their shutdown. The Golden Flashes have a good opportunity for rest and to get ready for the stretch run into March.
4. Buffalo 8-6 (6-4)
Last week: W 78-58 Vs. Ball State | W 88-64 Vs. Miami
The Buffalo Bulls have finally seemed to find their groove in the conference. A pair of huge victories, the Bulls deserved a big jump in the power rankings. They’ve been able to get production from both the starters and the bench, as they had only three bench points against Ball State, then turned it around with 40 points off the bench against Miami. They have a pair of directional schools this week, with Western and Central Michigan on tap.
3. Ohio 11-6 (7-4)
Last week: W 83-69 Vs. Central Michigan
Only one game this week, and the Bobcats did what they needed to against Central Michigan. The win continued a win streak for Ohio that has dated back to January 16th, spanning over four games now. They are running into some problems right now, as their next three games are postponed due to a virus outbreak in their program.
2. Akron 11-4 (9-3)
Last week: L 91-76 Vs. Toledo | W 72-61 Vs. Kent State
Akron looked promising at points against Toledo, and didn’t just roll over to the Rockets. Sure, the score shows a 15 point loss, but in reality the game was played much closer than that in the second half. They turned around and came out with a big win on the road against Kent State, showing what their brand of basketball really is. They only have one game on the schedule for this week, as their game against Ohio has already been postponed.
1. Toledo 16-5 (11-2)
Last week: W 91-76 Vs. Akron | L 81-67 Vs. Ball State
Toledo started off the week with a huge win. They started out strong against Akron, took a big lead, and even came together as a team when the Zips tied it up in the second half. The success from Tuesday didn’t carry over to Saturday though as the Rockets didn’t perform well and fell to Ball State for only their second league loss of the season. The win against Akron was enough to keep them on top of the league, even with the loss on Saturday.