Buffalo and Toledo remain the teams to beat in the Mid-American Conference, but Ball State has come on late and with two wins over Toledo has solidified itself as the clear cut No. 3 right now and could challenge for the No. 2 spot if the Rockets are to slip up over the final four games of the season.
Here are this week’s conference power rankings:
1) Buffalo (20-7, 12-2): After a disappointing loss at Northern Illinois, the Bulls bounced back with two win home wins this week as they won by double figures over Kent State and Bowling Green. Buffalo remains the class of the league until proven otherwise.
2) Bowling Green (16-11, 7-7): The Falcons ended the week with a tough loss at Buffalo, but no shame in that. Before that, Bowling Green had won four of its last five games, including a string of unlikely come-from-behind wins. If the MAC tournament started today the Falcons would be the No. 4 seed and the last team to get the coveted bye to Cleveland for the quarterfinals.
3) Kent State (13-14, 7-7): The Golden Flashes snapped a four-game losing skid with a much needed win over Akron at home. They have had a tough schedule recently and would be a No. 5 seed in the MAC tournament if the season ended today.
4) Miami (13-14, 6-8): The Redhawks have now dropped four straight during a tough portion of their schedule (at Western Michigan, home to Toledo, at Eastern Michigan, and at Ohio). It looks like Miami will be fighting to host a home game in the first round of the MAC tournament.
5) Ohio (11-15, 4-10): The Bobcats are playing better basketball of late and that translated to a big overtime home win over Miami. A few weeks ago, Ohio handled Akron 99-75.
6) Akron (11-15, 4-10): The Zips have lost five of their last six games, with the only win coming two weeks ago at home against Central Michigan. Akron, along with Ohio, is in position for the No. 11 or No. 12 seed in the tournament.
Toledo's Willie Jackson drives to the basket during Saturday's loss to Ball State. The Cardinals are now 2 games behind UT in the MAC West with 4 games to play.
Blade/Kurt Steiss Enlarge
1) Toledo (19-8, 11-3): The Rockets had a rough game at Ball State on Saturday and it was the second time this season that Toledo lost to the Cardinals by double figures. Ball State is hanging around in the MAC West race as the Rockets now lead by two games with four left to play. Toledo still has a leg up but things are much more interesting after Saturday.
2) Ball State (18-9, 9-5): The Cardinals got a 99-71 home win over Toledo and kept themselves within striking distance of a MAC West title and the No. 2 seed in the MAC tourney. Ball State has now won four straight games and is looking like one of the most dangerous teams in the conference.
3) Eastern Michigan (16-11, 7-7): The Eagles are coming off a successful week in which they picked up a home win over Miami and a road win at Central Michigan. Eastern Michigan has won four of its last five and is trending up down the home stretch of the season.
4) Western Michigan (15-12, 7-7): The Broncos have been a bit disappointing lately losing three of their last five, including two road setbacks this week at Bowling Green and at Northern Illinois. Western Michigan is in line for the No. 6 seed in the tourney right now.
5) Northern Illinois (12-15, 5-9): The Huskies have two marquee wins the past two weeks over Buffalo and Western Michigan and a very close loss at Toledo. Northern Illinois is playing much better basketball right now.
6) Central Michigan (16-11, 5-9): The Chippewas have lost three of their last four and look to be fighting for the final campus home game in the MAC tournament. Right now Central Michigan is just outside that spot, sitting at No. 9.
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