We are starting to see some “separation” in the Mid-American Conference women’s basketball standings. Even though we have not reached the half-way point in the league schedule, the MAC’s top teams are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the league.
This week we will take a look at the league by division as we close in on the half-way point in the season. And spoiler alert: The rankings do not reflect the standings.
Here are the latest MAC power rankings for women’s basketball.
1) Buffalo (15-3, 6-1 MAC) – The Bulls enter this week on a four-game winning streak and already have a two-game lead on the rest of the East, including a road win over second-place Ohio. As I mentioned last week, I cannot wait to watch their contest at Central Michigan on Jan. 31; UB must be careful, though, not to overlook Eastern Michigan when two team teams meet Saturday (Last week: 1).
2) Ohio (10-8, 4-3 MAC) – The Bobcats suffered a tough home loss to first-place Buffalo but rebounded to claim a win at Bowling Green that was extremely close until the final quarter. This week is extremely important for Ohio as the Bobcats host NIU and play at Miami; wins are necessary since they play Ball State and Central Michigan (although the games are at home) after that (Last week: 2).
3) Miami (10-8, 2-5 MAC) – The RedHawks have lost five of their last six games, but they did win the game they should win by knocking off Akron at home. The road ahead will determine if Miami stays in this spot, although it includes just one home game (against Ohio). The “road” ahead includes winnable contests against Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green (Last week: 4).
4) Bowling Green (10-8, 2-5 MAC) – The Falcons put together a clinic in guarding Kent State’s Jordan Korinek in Wednesday’s win, but BG could not finish the deal in Saturday’s loss to Ohio. Can the Falcons keep the good vibes going? This week it will be tough, since it includes a road contest against Ball State and a battle with the BG’s arch-rivals, Toledo (Last week: 5).
5) Kent State (9-10, 2-5 MAC) – The Golden Flashes have lost five of their last six games, but I do not think this is a bad team. The problem for KSU has been finding a second consistent scoring threat to pair with Korinek. After playing at Toledo Wednesday, the schedule may give the Flashes a chance to find it, since their next games are at Akron before home contests against Bowling Green and Northern Illinois (Last week: 3).
6) Akron (6-12, 0-7 MAC) – Yes, the Zips remain winless after losing at Miami and at home to Central Michigan. The bigger problem for Akron is that it is finishing up a stretch of home games against Western Michigan and Kent State. The Zips will need to get things rolling soon, since the “road” ahead has them traveling for six of their next eight games after this week’s homestand (Last week: 6).
1) Central Michigan (15-3, 7-0 MAC) – The Chippewas remain the lone unbeaten team in MAC play after beating Northern Illinois and Akron, both games coming on the road. CMU has only one game this week, a home contest against Western Michigan. The game I can’t wait to watch, as I mentioned earlier, is the Chips’ Jan. 31 home game against Buffalo (Last week: 1).
2) Ball State (15-3, 4-3 MAC) – The Cardinals suffered their third league loss this season when they were beaten at Toledo Wednesday, but BSU bounced back nicely with a win at Kent State. Ball State will get a chance to catch its breath a little bit thanks to a three-game homestand that includes games against Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Akron (Last week: 2).
3) Eastern Michigan (9-9, 5-2 MAC) – Sorry, Eagles fans … I thought long and hard about how EMU is a game ahead of Ball State in the West Division. But I just could not rank this team ahead of the Cardinals. But I promise I am watching carefully, especially after Wednesday’s game against Miami. The three contests that follow? At Buffalo, home against Central Michigan and at Ball State (Last week: 4).
4) Toledo (13-6, 4-3 MAC) – I will admit it up front: I may be showing my “Toledo” bias here ranking the Rockets ahead of Western Michigan. Since the two teams have yet to meet, the “tiebreaker” for me was UT’s home win over Ball State compared to the Broncos home loss to Ohio. This week will be important for the Rockets to keep it rolling as they play at home against Kent State then “on the road” at nearby Bowling Green (Last week: 5).
5) Western Michigan (11-8, 4-3 MAC) – The Broncos rebounded well from a tough overtime loss to Eastern Michigan by knocking off Miami. This week will be an interesting one for WMU, since it includes road trips to Akron and Central Michigan. If Western Michigan wants to overtake UT, beating Akron is a must and knocking off CMU would help. And a home win over the Rockets on Jan. 31 would be good, too (Last week: 3).
6) Northern Illinois (10-8, 2-5 MAC) – The Huskies are much better than a sixth-place team (I’d rank them no lower than third in the East), and their early season win over Buffalo is proof. But the point guard injuries are a reason NIU has lost four straight (none by more than seven points, though). And the schedule-maker has done them no favors with road games at Ohio and at Ball State this week (Last week: 6).
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