The Mid-American Conference released the 2023-2024 Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll and Preseason All-MAC teams on Wednesday afternoon. in anticipation of the college basketball season officially launching next week.
The Akron Zips, led by head coach John Groce, were picked to win the conference a year after finishing third in with a 13-5 MAC record and going 22-11 overall. The Zips lost standout guard Xavier Castaneda to graduation last year, but Groce will be happy to return some studs to his lineup like Enrique Freeman, who already has a couple All-MAC selections and a Defensive Player of the Year award. Akron also returns forward Ali Ali, who spent a year away from the Rubber City playing for Butler last year, and veteran guard Greg Tribble.
The reigning MAC Tournament champion Kent State Golden Flashes were picked to finish second in the poll. Head coach Rob Senderoff also lost some leadership with Sincere Carry’s graduation, but still has a solid roster highlighted by Jalen Sullinger, Chris Payton and VonCameron Davis.
Jeff Boals’ Ohio Bobcats and Tod Kolwalczyk’s Toledo Rockets round out the top four of the poll. The three Michigan teams find themselves making up the entire bottom three of the preseason poll as they’re all in various stages of their rebuilds.
Here are the full results of the 2023-2024 MAC Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll:
- Akron Zips (11 first place votes): 121 points
- Kent State Golden Flashes: 104
- Ohio Bobcats (1): 102
- Toledo Rockets: 93
- Northern Illinois Huskies: 82
- Bowling Green Falcons: 64
- Miami RedHawks: 64
- Ball State Cardinals: 55
- Buffalo Bulls: 38
- Western Michigan Broncos: 33
- Eastern Michigan Eagles: 22
- Central Michigan Chippewas: 14
Akron won nine of the 12 votes for the MAC Tournament Champion, with Kent State, Ohio and Toledo all collecting one vote apiece.
Veterans highlight the preseason All-MAC teams with four of the five first-team spots taken by seniors.
Ohio’s AJ Brown is the only underclassman representative on either team, making the second-team list. Akron, Kent State and Ohio lead the way, each with two representatives across the two teams.
The first-team preseason squad is made up of the following players: senior guard Ali Ali (Akron), senior guard Jaylin Hunter (Ohio), junior guard Dante Maddox Jr. (Toledo), senior forward Enrique Freeman (Akron) and graduate forward Chris Payton (Kent State).
The second-team preseason squad is made up of the following players: junior guard Tyson Acuff (Eastern Michigan), junior guard Jalen Sullinger (Kent State), junior David Coit (Northern Illinois), sophomore AJ Brown (Ohio) and senior Anderson Mirambeaux (Miami).
Akron, Ohio and Kent State each had two all-MAC team selections, tying for most selections.
The MAC men’s basketball season starts on Thursday, Nov. 2, when Ball State takes on NCAA Division III foe Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.