After a great opening weekend, we definitely learned some things about some of the teams in the MAC and, while it’s still early in the season, now is a good time to reflect and make some prognostications about some of our favorite teams in Mid-America. Time to put your plans for the next few minutes on hold, ‘cause we got some TAEKS in our roundball roundup this week.
Miami is not going to be very good. For those of you that missed it (which is all of you), the RedHawks hosted Muskingum University in a game that counted for some reason on Friday. The hosts were only up 38-32 at the half (!!!) against the Division III team before asserting themselves in the second half en route to a 84-57 victory. Despite 21 points from Michael Weathers, the team played a game that might’ve been attractive for the masochists out there as it shot 47.6% from the field, including 5-19 from three-point range and 19-31 from the free throw line. If Miami doesn’t get significantly better on offense, it’ll be a long, long winter in Oxford.
The MAC West could very well be carried by Eastern Michigan. The Eagles looked impressive at Pittsburgh Friday night, taking the Panthers to two overtimes before running out of gas late in the loss. EMU actually outrebounded Pitt 45-41 and had more blocks and steals, so it has the formula to play winning basketball at a high level. Depending on how Ball State’s season shakes out, Eastern Michigan could be the division’s best chance to make a deep run in Cleveland.
Meanwhile, the MAC East looks to be a coin flip again this season. Buffalo, Kent State, and Ohio all impressed in their opening victories, although the level of competition wasn’t anything spectacular. The Bobcats have a big test this week with a game at Georgia Tech, so we’ll see if teams are able to separate themselves this week or if the East will just be a mosh pit ot the top three or four teams until the MAC Tournament.
Akron down but not out. Despite a setback with their loss to Youngstown State, the Zips have plenty to feel good about as they got 31 points off the bench and outrebounded the Penguins 38-37. However, they have to be more efficient on offense as 44.6% shooting from the field and 14/22 from the charity stripe is not good enough to beat good basketball teams, and UA has a chance to get back on track Thursday against American.
Maybe most importantly, Ball State heads to Tuscaloosa with a chance to get a huge upset. Avery Johnson’s Crimson Tide is a tough group to play, but the Cardinals with Franko House have an opportunity to get the first bug win of the season for the MAC. It’s a nationally televised game on the SEC Network, so capitalizing on that exposure with a strong showing against a good program would be huge for both Ball State as well as the MAC.