Three days of basketball involving Mid-American Conference teams leaves plenty of room for way too early takeaways. There's nothing better than making sweeping generalizations about teams and individuals after just one or two games.
If I weren't to do so, what kind of person would I be?
Anyway, to the action.
After only watching only around a combined 45 minutes of MAC basketball, I'm not going to claim anything outrageous.
- Miami has a couple Weathers brothers to look out for. Other than that, a close game against Muskingum at the half doesn't lend the RedHawks to optimism from their fans.
- EMU battled Pittsburg to two OT's but looked tuckered out against SMU. It was the guard play of Ty Toney and Raven Lee that should give Eagle fans reasons to be hopeful for a MAC West title. James Thompson seemed to feel a bit disrespected by HB's ranking of him as No. 5 in our preseason player rankings. Here's his encouragement to ravage opponents in the post.
- Ball State is the other name that should be added to contention in the West. Not sure why some folks were sleeping on Whitford's bunch. It also seems that Franko House has added to his game with a 3-point shot. He hit all four of his tries from beyond the arc in a convincing win over St. Louis that the Cardinals led by 23 at the half.
- Bowling Green competed against the likes of a Felder-less Oakland team and South Dakota but lost both by less than 10. Not sure who the go-to is there. Could be Wes Alcegaire. Could be Rasheed Worrell. I would ask what Antwon Lillard's deal has been, but saw this nugget listed below. It came after Lillard's one-game suspension. The Falcons need him to compete. He showed flashes of brilliance at Quicken Loans at the championships last year.
@HustleBelt @_LaviniaE number 5 very disrespectful!!!!!— James Thompson (@J_T_IV300) November 9, 2016
Wake up call— Antwon Lillard (@Lillard22_CCC) November 14, 2016
- Speaking of teams that lost to Oakland, Western Michigan is 1-1. 35.5 percent shooting won't quite cut it for you against the Grizzlies.
- Central doesn't look bad. What gives? Transfer Marcus Keene, who came to Mount Pleasant after a successful sophomore campaign at Youngstown State in 2014-2015, has, you know, just put up a combined 62 points. Freshmen David DiLeo had a 17-point effort against Tennessee Tech. Braylon Rayson is playing fine. Juco transfer Cecil Williams has shown enough, and Luke Meyer has given reason enough to be excited about the Chips.
- Speaking of flightless birds from Northeastern Ohio (something about that doesn't sound right because I'm not speaking about pheasants), Youngstown State took it to Akron on the offensive end. What? Imagine if Keene was still there. Not sure what the situation was that made him want to move, but hey, Cameron Morse doesn't seem to care. He had 27 points and five steals in YSU's 90-82 win over Akron. Allowing 54 points in the second half won't cut it, Zips
- Buffalo was decent enough in a win over Niagara, but after good showing the last few years on the road against powerful opponents, a no-show of sorts Monday at Xavier couldn't have been fun.
- Northern Illinois squeaked out an overtime-win over Indiana State and Marin Maric looked good. At some point the Huskies will need to establish several guys as consistent scorers. Until then, and for future reference, keep griding away defensive as you are prone to NIU.
- Kent State is 1-0 after a win over Cleveland State. Check mark. I figured KSU was hiding a few guys on that roster that would slowly impress us all in time this year. Four guys went into double digits in scoring and Jimmy Hall had a career-high 18 rebounds in the win (per ESPN).
- Toledo is 0-1 after just barely falling to St. Josephs. I have faith that Toledo will be able to compete at nearly the same level it did last year, with Jonathan Williams taking charge and a cast of others looking to step up.
- Finally, Ohio struggled offensively in game one against last year's Southern Conference champs...Southern. Still got the win. Those same offensive struggles didn't carry over to the game with Sam Houston State. Ohio shot 52.5 percent from the floor, and 55.6 from beyond the arc against the Bearkats. Really interested to see how freshmen Rodney Culver and Jason Carter. i already know sophomores Gavin Block and Jordan Dartis can be asked to grow this year.
As far as bigger takeaways go, I have no reason to doubt that bigs will fare well in the conference this seaosn, be it likes of Antonio Campbell, Isaiah Johnson, Jimmy Hall, Franko House, James Thomspon, Marin Maric, or maybe even Nick Perkins of Buffalo.
Strong guard play will drive the likes of Ohio and Akron, but can Ball State and transfer Tyler Persons or the athleticism of an EMU backcourt for instance give the two best in the MAC West a shot at competing at the top of the MAC? Debatable. I put my money on the Cards going forward because of the defensive edge.
As for the coming week between now and next Tuesday, a couple game stick out.
Ball State hosts Indiana State Tuesday and Youngstown State goes up against Toledo.
Thursday, Western goes up against...*Gulp* Nova.
Friday Ohio goes to the land of Donald Glover (Atlanta for those dirty jerks who fired Brian Gregory) and Ball State invaded Tuscaloosa to impede the progress of the Tide that rolls.
NIU vs. Cal State Northridge could be fun Saturday. Look out for that one. I suppose Toledo at Wright State too.
And Central plays Pepperdine in Texas Monday.
Green Bay goes to Bowling Green Sunday.
Welp, if you all need me, I'm probably sleeping or watching the Tip-Off Marathon.