The 2014 Mid-American Conference regular season is complete, and we now know the layout of the entire 12-team field for the MAC Women's Basketball Tournament.
The first round of the tournament will feature the bottom eight teams playing at campus sites on Monday, March 10th. The winners of those four games will advance to Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday, March 12th for the second round. The two second-round winners then play Akron and Buffalo in the third round on the following afternoon.
Bowling Green and Central Michigan will await the third round winners in the semifinals on Friday, March 14th, and the championship game will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 15th.
The following is a seed-by-seed look at each team, including an explanation of how any ties are broken. After that, we've provided the final standings and a complete tournament schedule.
#1 Bowling Green Falcons (27-3, 17-1 MAC)
The Falcons closed out their regular season with an impressive road win against Akron on Saturday. They end their conference schedule with just one loss, which came in overtime at #2 seed Central Michigan. Thanks to CMU's unexpected loss in their finale, the Falcons earn this seed outright and will not have to play both the Chippewas and Akron in the MAC tournament.
Their next game will be at noon on Friday in the MAC semifinals against either Buffalo, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois or Kent State.
#2 Central Michigan Chippewas (20-10, 16-2 MAC)
The Chippewas ended the regular season on a very sour note. The formula they've used to win several games over the last month was turned on them, as Eastern Michigan came back and won in overtime. Now, the Chippewas get the second semifinal and may have to go through both Akron and Bowling Green to win the MAC tournament.
They will play at 2:30 p.m. in the second Friday semifinal against either Akron, Toledo, Western Michigan, Miami or Ohio.
#3 Akron Zips (20-9, 14-4 MAC)
The Zips played toe-to-toe with Bowling Green all afternoon on Saturday, but their upset hopes were dashed in the final seconds. There's certainly no shame in the loss, but the Zips will now enter the tournament with an 0-3 record against the top two seeds.
Akron's next contest will be in the third round of the MAC tournament at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. They will face either Toledo, Western Michigan, Miami or Ohio.
#4 Buffalo Bulls (17-12, 10-8 MAC)
The Bulls will go into tournament play with some of their best basketball of the season under their belt. Buffalo recovered from a loss to Ohio to steal back the #4 seed, and that includes a bye to the third round of the MAC tournament. If they can win their third round game, the Bulls would get a third shot at Bowling Green.
Buffalo will face either Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois or Ohio on Thursday at noon.
#5 Ball State Cardinals (14-15, 9-9 MAC)
The Cardinals beat the Rockets comfortably on Saturday to claim the fifth seed in the MAC tournament. The teams split their regular season meetings, so the tie at 9-9 was broken by record against seeded teams in descending order. Ball State went 2-0 against Western Michigan, while Toledo was 0-2, so the Cardinals won the tiebreaker.
Ball State will host Kent State in a first-round game on Monday night at a time to be determined. If you'll remember, KSU earned their first MAC win of the season against Ball State.
#6 Toledo Rockets (14-15, 9-9 MAC)
As noted above, Toledo lost to Ball State today. Because of that loss and their 0-2 record against Western Michigan, the Rockets drop into the 6th seed of the MAC tournament. They will still get a home game, but now the Rockets are on the side of the bracket with both Akron and Central Michigan. The disturbing thing here is that Toledo followed perhaps their best win of the season with one of their most uninspiring games.
Toledo will host the Ohio Bobcats on Monday night in the first round of the tournament. Toledo swept Ohio in two games but won only by a combined six points.
#7 Western Michigan Broncos (12-17, 8-10 MAC)
The Broncos fell at Northern Illinois today and will enter the MAC tournament on a three-game losing streak. Two weeks ago, it appeared they might get the #4 seed and the bye to the third round, but now the Broncos are in a difficult position. They've got the talent to make noise in the tournament, but like Toledo, consistency is often lacking.
The Broncos' first-round game in the tournament will be at home against Miami on Monday. The Broncos swept two games from the RedHawks in the regular season by 10 and 11 points, but the latter (at home) went to overtime.
#8 Eastern Michigan Eagles (17-12, 7-11 MAC)
The Eagles pulled off their signature win of the 2013-2014 season against Central Michigan on Saturday and, in the process, earned a home game in the MAC tournament. The team is young and still inexperienced, but they've clearly got the talent to hang with anyone in the field. It's not difficult to imagine the Eagles getting to the semifinals against Bowling Green...and then, who knows?
EMU faces Northern Illinois in the MAC tournament first round on Monday night in Ypsilanti. The two teams split their regular season meetings, with NIU winning by 23 at home back in early January while EMU won by 9 at home just a week ago.
#9 Northern Illinois Huskies (10-18, 6-12 MAC)
The Huskies earned a hard-fought win over Western Michigan on Saturday but lost out on a home game in the MAC tournament. As noted above, they'll play at Eastern Michigan on Monday, where they lost by nine last weekend.
#10 Miami RedHawks (8-21, 4-14 MAC)
The RedHawks beat Ohio at home on Saturday to force a three-way tie at 4-14 for the bottom three seeds in the MAC tournament. Because Miami, Ohio and Kent State each split their regular season series, the tiebreaker had to go to record against seeded teams in descending order. Miami beat #3 seed Akron, and neither Ohio or Kent State can claim the same, so Miami wins the #10 seed.
Miami travels to Western Michigan for their first round game on Monday.
#11 Ohio Bobcats (9-20, 4-14 MAC)
Despite losing to Miami on Saturday, the Bobcats claim the #11 seed over Kent State based on their win two weeks ago against Buffalo. Kent State failed to beat the Bulls this season. Ohio will now play at Toledo on Monday night.
#12 Kent State Golden Flashes (7-22, 4-14 MAC)
Kent State dropped their regular season finale at Buffalo but did manage to win four of their final 10 regular season games. Because, unlike Miami and Ohio, the Flashes did not beat Akron or Buffalo, they are relegated to the #12 seed and a game at Ball State in the MAC tournament on Monday.
Now, here's a look at the final 2014 MAC standings...
And, here's the official 2014 MAC Women's Basketball Tournament bracket:
|2nd||5 or 12||BSU or KSU
||vs.||8 or 9||EMU or NIU
|2nd||7 or 10||WMU or Miami||vs.||6 or 11||Toledo or Ohio
||vs.||5, 8, 9 or 12|
|3rd||3||Akron||vs.||6, 7, 10 or 11|
||vs.||4, 5, 8, 9, or 12|
||vs.||3, 6, 7, 10 or 11|
|Champ.||SF #1 winner||vs.||SF #2 winner|