With the non-conference slate now complete for the Mid-American Conference, it’s time to take stock of where each conference team stands headed into league play. Here are the first MAC power rankings of the season.
1) Ball State – The Cardinals sit at 8-4 overall and have the best win of the non-conference season with a road victory over Notre Dame. Taylor Persons makes Ball State go and is one of the top performers in the conference as he showed with buzzer-beaters against Notre Dame and Valparaiso.
2) Western Michigan – The Broncos are 8-5, and little has changed since they were ranked as the team to beat in the West in the conference’s preseason poll. Thomas Wilder gives Western Michigan one of the best lead guards in the MAC.
3) Eastern Michigan – The Eagles are 9-4 overall, but have four wins over non-Division I teams. Their 2-3 zone always make them tough, and James Thompson IV is one of the most dominant players in the conference.
4) Toledo – The Rockets played a tough non-conference schedule and emerged with an 8-5 record. They will be tested right away with a road game at Buffalo to open conference play. Senior Tre’Shaun Fletcher has been a welcome addition as the team’s top scorer and rebounder.
5) Central Michigan – The Chippewas were the toughest team to rank. They sit at 11-2 overall, but three of those wins are over non-Division I teams and their strength of schedule is the worst in the conference. Cecil Williams and David DiLeo lead a team looking to translate the non-conference success into a good MAC campaign.
6) Northern Illinois – The Huskies are 7-6 overall and have a prolific scorer in Eugene German, but the transfer of Marin Maric hurt the overall strength of the team, and they could find it tough to compete in a very deep MAC West.
1) Buffalo – The Bulls are 8-5 overall after playing the ninth-toughest schedule in the country. Buffalo looks to be the class of the conference led by CJ Massinburg. The Bulls have by far the top RPI in the MAC at 42.
2) Ohio – The Bobcats have been plagued by injuries, including a foot injury for all-conference pick Jason Carter. But Ohio still has scorers in Mike Laster and Jordan Dartis and will have to be taken seriously in conference play.
3) Bowling Green – The Falcons have impressed so far this season with a 9-4 record. The strength of schedule is not good (332nd), and Bowling Green has a young nucleus. It’s a bit of a question mark how the young team will respond during league play, but signs are pointing up for the Falcons.
4) Kent State – The Golden Flashes are the defending MAC champs, but also are the only team entering league play with a losing record (6-7). Jaylin Walker gives Kent State a big-time scoring threat, and the team has enough players back to make a run at a title defense.
5) Akron – The Zips (7-5) could take some time to mature under new coach John Groce. Daniel Utomi is a prolific scorer and has one of the best 3-point strokes in the conference.
6) Miami – The Redhawks (7-6) are another very young team that could take time to get acclimated to the grind of conference play. Point guard Darrian Ringo directs the offense and leads the MAC in assists.
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