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MAC Out of Conference Wrap and Weekend Preview

 

As we ring in a new decade, it is time to get geared up for another season of MAC play. But first lets look back at the first two months of the season. The MAC East once again looks like the stronger division but the conference is up-for-grabs with no one looking particularly dominant. How did the out-of-conference season shakeout and what’s ahead for the first weekend of the MAC season?

 

MAC East

 

Where it stands

The entire division is above .500 and has been competitive in some games against big schools. Akron is atop the division and the first MAC squad to 10 wins. The Zips look good but have played just two true road games and not much tough competition. Kent State, Ohio and Buffalo are ranked higher in various RPI projections. The Bulls and Bobcats have both been victims to tight losses. At 3-10, Miami is 11 th in the conference. But don’t write off the Redhawks, as they have played by far the toughest schedule. However, they will have to change that 0-7 road mark. Bowling Green is in the mix in the middle of the standings. To rise to the top, the Falcons will need to add some more offense to a strong defense.

 

* next to statistic denotes MAC leader in the category



Upper Echelon Upperclassmen

Rodney Pierce, Buffalo, Sr.- 18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.5 APG

Calvin Betts, Buffalo, Sr.- 12.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.9 steals per game

Kenny Hayes, Miami, Sr.- 14.5 PPG, 3.5 APG

Otis Polk, Bowling Green, Sr.- 10.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG

Brett McKnight, Akron, Jr.- 10.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG

 

Not just potential…Impact Freshmen

The word potential is used a lot, maybe so much now that it has lost any real meaning. Well, forget potential with this group of first year players. They’re wasting no time proving themselves at the college level.

D.J. Cooper, Ohio- 12.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.6 APG*, 3 steals per game*

Jay Kinney, Ohio- 10.8 PPG

 

Sophomore Slump? Says Who?

Justin Greene, Kent State- 14.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 53% FG

Dee Brown, Bowling Green- 10.6 PPG, 48% 3 pt. FG*

Julian Mavunga, Miami- 9.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 52% FG

Humpty Hitchens, Akron- 8.7 PPG, 2.6 APG

 

Highs (best wins)

Kent State 72, UAB 65

Ohio 63, IUPUI 62

 

Almosts

Kentucky 72, Miami 70

Xavier 70, Miami 67

Cincinnati 63, Miami 59

Tulsa 81, Ohio 80

 

Lows (egregious losses)

Buffalo’s 73-71 home loss to Cansius

Miami’s 82-58 home loss to Evansville

 

 

> Check out the MAC basketball standings here @ VanDelay Sports

 

MAC West

 

Where it stands

The West is again looking to be a level below the East on the whole. However, Western Michigan has put together a nice early season slate. The 8-5 Broncos have gotten solid wins over Northeastern, College of Charleston, and VCU. Eastern Michigan is also 8-5 and atop the West but has done so against a predominantly soft schedule. Next in the line of Michigans comes Central, which has talent and has flashed some signs of quality (road win at South Florida) but been too inconsistent. The rest of the West squads each have deficiencies. Ball State is last in MAC scoring offense, Toledo 11 th in both offense and defense, and Northern Illinois last in field goal and free throw percentage. Each is .500 or lower. The West may have the leagues two best players though, with Brandon Bowdry averaging a double-double and David Kool leading the league in scoring.

 

 

 

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Upper Echelon Upperclassmen

David Kool, Western Michigan- 19.8 PPG*, 4 RPG, 3 APG, 1.8 steals per game, 90% FT*

Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan, Sr.- 19.5 PPG, 10.9 RPG*, 52% FG

Carlos Medlock, Eastern Michigan, Sr.- 14.4 PPG, 3.9 APG

Robbie Harman, Central Michigan, Sr.- 13.9 PPG, 3.3 APG, 2.5 steals per game, 3.17 3 pt. FG made per game*

Jake Anderson, Northern Illinois- 10.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 3.5 APG

 

Not just potential…Impact Freshmen

Jake Barnett, Toledo- 14 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 39% 3 pt. FG

Stephen Albrecht, Toledo- 11.2 PPG, 2.6 APG, 41% 3 pt FG

 

Sophomore Slump? Says Who?

Jarrod Jones, Ball State- 14.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, .9 blocks per game

Flenard Whitfield, Western Michigan- 10.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG

 

Highs (best wins)

Central Michigan 59, South Florida 56

Western Michigan 83, VCU 67

Western Michigan 75, Northeastern 60

 

Almosts

USC 55, Western Michigan 51 (in Hawaii)

 

Lows (Egregious Losses)

Central Michigan 62-53 loss at Fairleigh Dickinson

Eastern Michigan 58-56 home loss to Samford

Ball State 60-58 home loss to UC Davis

 

MAC Weekend Forecast

- Once again, a frigid January weekend ushers in a full slate of hot MAC action.

 

Northern Illinois at Ball State - This is not going to be pretty. Neither team scores too well but Ball State will be able to muster just a bit more.

Central Michigan at Toledo - in the weekend’s only blowout, the Chippewas easily handle the Rockets

Kent State at Ohio- the young Bobcats have played a bunch of close games so far; they start MAC play with another one and a win that comes down to the last two minutes

Miami at Buffalo - the tested Redhawks prove that their tough schedule was worth it

Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan - the West’s top two teams square off and the Broncos’ defense contains Eastern

Bowling Green at Akron - after a close first half, the Zips go on a big run early in the second half and don’t look back

 

 

By Connor Kiesel
MAC Basketball Correspondent