We now have a few Mid-American Conference women’s basketball games to use to further evaluate the league standings. The problem? At times it’s unwise to use a small sample size (three games) to make big changes in the standings.
Well, I’ve been called worse things than unwise. Take a look at this second set of MAC power rankings for women’s basketball this season and you’ll see what I mean.
1) Buffalo (11-3, 2-1 MAC) — The Bulls whacked Western Michigan at home before suffering a two-point loss at Northern Illinois. UB still has a rough “road” ahead after it hosts Miami as the Bulls play at Ball State and at Ohio. The loss to the Huskies is a game Buffalo probably would like to have back, since it makes success on the road a must if the Bulls want to keep pace with the top teams in the West Division (Last week: 1).
2) Ohio (8-6, 2-1 MAC) — The Bobcats were rocked at Central Michigan, which is understandable. And while OU responded with a home win over Akron, it was a come-from-behind overtime victory against a team that is winless in MAC play. Let’s be charitable and say Ohio will have to play better if it hopes to claim wins this week as the Bobcats play at Toledo and at Western Michigan (Last week: 2).
3) Kent State (8-7, 1-2 MAC) — The Golden Flashes lost at Northern Illinois by two points, which is understandable. But KSU probably wishes it could get a do-over after losing at home to Western Michigan on Saturday. Beating Eastern Michigan in a rematch of the MAC opener is crucial because the Flashes will play four of the five games that follow on the road (Last week: 3).
4) Miami (9-5, 1-2 MAC) — Sure, the RedHawks lost twice last week. But losses to Ball State and Central Michigan are forgivable. A tough stretch of schedule sees Miami play at Buffalo Wednesday, which certainly will be no picnic. But after that comes two important home games against Eastern Michigan and Akron. Two wins are imperative if the RedHawks want to move up the standings (Last week: 4).
5) Akron (6-8, 0-3 MAC) — Yes, the Zips also lost twice last week. But the losses deserve a second look as they came on the road at Toledo and at Ohio — and both were close (the loss to the Bobcats came in overtime). This is a young team that could use a break. It’s hard to imagine that break would come against Ball State on Wednesday, but Saturday’s home game against Bowling Green provides an opportunity (Last week: 6).
6) Bowling Green (8-6, 0-3 MAC) — The Falcons’ home loss to Ball State is understandable since the Cardinals are one of the MAC’s top teams. But the loss to Eastern Michigan — which came at home — was a dagger, especially since it came on a tip-in at the game’s final horn. And the schedule maker did BG no favors this week as it plays at Central Michigan on Wednesday before playing an important East contest at Akron (Last week: 5).
1) Central Michigan (11-3, 3-0 MAC) — The Chippewas are the lone 3-0 team in MAC play after wins over Ohio and Miami. With home games against Bowling Green and Kent State this week, a 5-0 start is very possible. And if you like watching a good offensive team, make sure you check out CMU; the Chips can score in bunches because of their ability to score in just about every way possible (Last week: 1).
2) Ball State (13-1, 2-1 MAC) — The Cardinals bounced back from that season-opening loss to Central Michigan by thumping Miami at home and beating Bowling Green on the road. The road ahead may be a little tougher, though, as Ball State plays a potential trap game at Akron followed by an interesting home contest against Buffalo followed by another tough challenge at Toledo (Last week: 2).
3) Western Michigan (9-6, 2-1 MAC) — The Broncos suffered a lopsided loss at Buffalo, but rebounded nicely with a quality win at Kent State. This is an important week for WMU as the Broncos play a pair of “toss up” games against Northern Illinois and Ohio. Both are crucial contests if the Broncos want to keep pace with the rest of this division (Last week: 4).
4) Northern Illinois (10-4, 2-1 MAC) — Here’s another team that put together a good week with victories over Kent State and Buffalo. Not to dismiss the wins, but both were home games by NIU and both were by just two points. Still, the Huskies have our attention: Northern Illinois will move up these rankings if it can continue its winning ways with victories at Western Michigan and at Toledo (Last week: 5).
5) Eastern Michigan (6-8, 2-1 MAC) — Last week I wrote that EMU’s contest at Bowling Green was “an important contest for the Eagles” because it came against the only team they beat last season. Well, the Eagles got a tip at the buzzer to beat the Falcons, then put together a strong effort to knock off Toledo at home. The temptation is to jump them up the standings, and I’ll give in to that temptation after watching how EMU played in both games (Last week: 6).
6) Toledo (10-5, 1-2 MAC) — Yes, I’m sure it’s a surprise to see the Rockets at the bottom of these rankings. I’m shocked to have typed it, to be honest. But I watched UT struggle at both ends of the floor in losing at Eastern Michigan, and the Rockets didn’t exactly dominate Akron. This may be more of a compliment to the depth of the MAC West than an indictment of the Rockets (Last week: 3).
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