‘Tis the season for some #MACtion as the non-conference portion of the #MACsketball schedule is coming to an end while some teams are starting to really assert themselves. Although there are a handful of days left in the year, hope abounds (for some) ahead of what’s shaping to be an exciting MAC slate.
#12 Bowling Green Falcons (4-7)
(Average position: 12, Highest vote: 12, Lowest vote: 12, Last week: 12)
The Falcons secured the bottom spot in our rankings after a 77-76 loss at San Jose State on Sunday. With Alabama A&M on the docket Thursday, very little chances remain for BG to build some momentum ahead of MAC play.
#11 Miami RedHawks (5-6)
(Average position: 10.43, Highest vote: 10, Lowest vote: 11, Last week: 10)
The roller coaster that is Miami is on a downswing following an 80-73 loss at UCF Sunday. With a match-up against a struggling Tennessee Tech at home on Thursday, the ‘Hawks could enter the conference slate with some confidence and have a puncher’s chance against some of the better teams in the league.
#10 Western Michigan Broncos (3-7)
(Average position: 10, Highest vote: 9, Lowest vote: 11, Last week: 11)
Western put up a good fight at Washington on Sunday, as Tucker Haymond dropped a career-high 28 points. The Broncos have another huge road test Wednesday as they square off with a very good #2 UCLA squad.
#9 Northern Illinois Huskies (7-5)
(Average position: 9, Highest vote: 8, Lowest vote: 11, Last week: 9)
The Huskies are on a roll right now after victories over Olivet Nazarene, FIU, and South Florida this week. NIU is off until Dec. 31, but the team has built up a lot of momentum recently and it’ll be hard to keep it out of the top half of the league.
#8 Toledo Rockets (6-6)
(Average position: 8, Highest vote: 7, Lowest vote: 9, Last week: 8)
Toledo is also unblemished this week as it downed Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday and Loyola on Tuesday night. The Rockets are off until Dec. 30 and will be likely to remain at the eight spot next week as well.
#7 Ball State Cardinals (7-4)
(Average position: 7.5, Highest vote: 7, Lowest vote: 9, Last week: 7)
The Cardinals routed Longwood 61-45 in their only game this week, as Franko House and friends look to build some momentum like some of the other MAC West teams ahead of the league schedule. A home game against Alabama State on Thursday is one of Ball State’s last hurdles in its non-conference slate.
#6 Kent State Golden Flashes (7-4)
(Average position: 5.5, Highest vote: 4, Lowest vote: 6, Last week: 5)
Things keep getting worse for the Flashes as they were victims of a 68-63 home loss to Wright State this week. The road gets tougher for KSU on Wednesday night when it hits the road to take on Oregon State on a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
#5 Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-5)
(Average position: 5.17, Highest vote: 4, Lowest vote: 7, Last week: 4)
The Eagles took one on the chin Monday night in a 105-57 loss at Syracuse, putting a stop to EMU’s recent run of success. A home game against Marygrove on Thursday and a contest against Long Beach State on the Dec. 29 are the only things now standing between Eastern and MAC play.
#4 Buffalo Bulls (5-6)
(Average position: 4.5, Highest vote: 4, Lowest vote: 5, Last week: 6)
Buffalo is in dire need of consistency as the team dropped a 94-87 decision in overtime to Canisius at home. The Bulls head to Pennsylvania Wednesday night for a showdown with Robert Morris, which will be a tough game if UB is unable to play focused basketball.
#3 Central Michigan Chippewas (8-3)
(Average position: 2.83, Highest vote: 2, Lowest vote: 3, Last week: 3)
The Mighty Marcus Keenes were off this week, so there was no reason to supplant them from the third spot in our rankings. Playing at Montana State on Wednesday night should be an interesting match-up, depending on how the layoff affects the Chippewas.
#2 Ohio Bobcats (7-2)
(Average position: 2.17, Highest vote: 2, Lowest vote: 3, Last week: 2)
Ohio might be returning to form as it picked up good wins over Milwaukee and Cleveland State after the perplexing loss to Iona. Antonio Campbell and crew have a big road test on Wednesday night at Western Kentucky, which will be key in telling where the ‘Cats are at ahead of conference action.
#1 Akron Zips (8-3)
(Average position: 1, Highest vote: 1, Lowest vote: 1, First place votes: 6, Last week: 1)
Akron held on to the top spot of our rankings after a 99-88 triumph over Marshall on Saturday as the Zips are a unanimous #1 pick. UA starts a tournament in El Paso Wednesday night against UC Irvine followed by another game on Thursday against an opponent that has yet to be determined.