MAC men's basketball power rankings: Conference race heating up


If the Mid-American Conference tournament started today, Buffalo (10-2) would be the top seed with Toledo (10-2) as the No. 2. At the three and four spot respectively would be Western Michigan and Ball State as both teams are 7-5. Those four teams would receive byes to the quarterfinals in Cleveland. Three teams sit one game behind at 6-6. With six more conference games remaining, there is still plenty of time to jostle for positioning in the tournament. Here are this week’s power rankings:

MAC East

1) Buffalo (18-7, 10-2): The Bulls were tripped up at Northern Illinois for their second conference loss. They are now tied for the top overall spot in the MAC with Toledo, but hold the tiebreaker since they beat the Rockets in the conference opener, their only meeting of the season. This team still appears to be the class of the MAC.

2) Bowling Green (15-10, 6-6): The Falcons earned two dramatic comebacks in home wins over Kent State and Eastern Michigan and have now won three of their last four. The only loss in that stretch came at Ball State when Tayler Persons came up with more late game heroics.

3) Miami (13-12, 6-6): The Redhawks lost two straight tough games. The first came at Western Michigan and the second was at home to Toledo. Miami was in both games but couldn’t quite notch those big wins. The Redhawks are very young and appear to be growing up fast.

4) Kent State (12-13, 6-6): The Golden Flashes have hit a rough stretch with three straight losses. The first came in a collapse at Bowling Green and then continued with losses to Eastern Michigan and Ball State. Kent State does have wins over Buffalo and Ball State, but has struggled lately with consistency.

5) Akron (11-13, 4-8): The Zips snapped a four-game losing skid with a win over Central Michigan. They did suffer a disappointing loss at Ohio after topping the Bobcats at home earlier in the season. It’s been a challenging first year at Akron for John Groce.

6) Ohio (10-14, 3-9): The Bobcats showed signs of life with a win over Akron, but have still lost five of their last six games. Injuries have played a large role in Ohio’s struggles, but it has been a season to forget so far.

MAC West

1) Toledo (18-7, 10-2): The Rockets have won three straight including road wins at Akron and Miami with a home win over Northern Illinois in between. Toledo has won five straight road conference games after losing at Buffalo to open the conference season. The Rockets continue to impress and are currently tied for the best record in the MAC.

2) Ball State (16-9, 7-5): The Cardinals are beginning to hit their stride. They earned an upset win at Toledo two weeks ago and have now won four of their last five games. The only blemish lately came in a loss at Eastern Michigan.

3) Western Michigan (15-10, 7-5): The Broncos are also hot lately, winning four of their last five, with the only setback coming at Buffalo. They most recently notched home wins over Miami and Ohio.

4) Eastern Michigan (14-11, 5-7): The Eagles blew a big lead at Bowling Green, but have been playing better basketball lately. They recently beat Ball State at home and won at Kent State. This could be a dangerous team to play during the final stretch of the conference season.

5) Central Michigan (15-10, 4-8): The Chippewas suffered a bad loss at Akron after losing to Buffalo. They have two road wins which gives the edge over Northern Illinois in these rankings, plus they have the head-to-head victory in the first matchup of the teams.

6) Northern Illinois (11-14, 4-8): The Huskies upset MAC leader Buffalo at home on Saturday to snap a four-game losing streak. They played Toledo tough at Savage Arena and have the look of an improved team. However, they have yet to win on the road in the conference.