Sunday, February 21, 2010

MAC has improved Bracket Buster

Until tournament time, the Saturday bracket buster games were the last time to measure the MAC against other conferences.  As I noted earlier, the MAC did improve its record against non-conference play in the 2009 portion of the schedule, and in total, the conference is doing better on national rankings than it was last year.

Last year, for reference, the MAC was 4-8, with its best win against a team with an RPI of 177.  Of the eight losses, 2 were to teams in the top 90 and the worst loss was to a #281 Eastern Illinois.

This year the MAC was 7-5, and did show some improvement.  The key dynamic this year was home the MAC's 12 Bracket Buster games, 11 of them were won by the home team.  Buffalo's win at St. Peters was the single road win for a MAC team.

Akron had the toughest assignment, playing a really good VCU team (who, granted, lost to WMU earlier this year), in Richmond.  They were smoked by 17.  At the same time, Ball State played the #337 ranked team (out of 347) and did win.

Let's look closer at the wins and losses:


OU defeated Wright State (#96)
Kent defeated Western Carolina (#127)
Buffalo defeated St. Peters (#160)
BG defeated Valparasio (#171)
CMU defeated Tennessee St (#262)
Miami defeated SE Missouri (#305)
Ball State defeated Tenn-Martin (#337)

The best win was OU's win against Wright State, and Kent had a nice win against Western Carolina.  The Buffalo win is good as well, since it came on the road.  The bottom three wins are games that were really gimmees for the conference.


Akron lost to VCU (#57)
WMU lost to SIU (#140)
UT lost to Cleveland St (#151)
NIU lost to EIU (#180)
EMU lost to Detroit (#191)

None of the losses were as bad as the EIU last (#281), although EIU did get the opportunity to win against the MAC a second straight year.  Detroit has beaten a number of MAC teams and is, in fact, probably better than EMU.

So, a better year for the MAC.  In some ways, the bracket buster assignments were easier, but there were fewer absolute gimmees on the schedule too.  The MAC defended home court, and won a majority of its game.  Further evidence of modest progress, with a considerable distance left to travel.

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