Saturday, January 04, 2014

Peek-in at MAC Basketball to date

RPI rankings from

41. Eastern Michigan
44. Toledo
67. Ohio
131. Akron
150. Bowling Green
151. Kent State
159. Buffalo
171. Northern Illinois
191. Miami (OH)
199. Western Michigan
271. Central Michigan
314. Ball State

So, we are nearing the end of the non-conference schedule in men's basketball, and I wanted to do a couple posts just to catch everyone up on where the conference teams went--and then the conference as a whole--during the non-conference season.  That chart above is from  I've used RPI here just because people seem familiar with it.  There are a bunch of RPI rankings and they do vary, but this is one look.

  • I think there are two teams who appear to be ahead of the pack:  OU and Toledo
  • There are two teams vying to be in the lead group:  EMU and Akron
  • A middle group:  Kent, BG and Buffalo
  • Three teams vying to get away from the bottom feeders: NIU, WMU and Miami
  • Two teams that are bottom feeders:  CMU and Ball State

So, team by team (with the exception of BG)....

Eastern Michigan:

Kind of a surprise to see their ranking this high and I suspect it is probably a little high.  They are 5-5 in D1 games but that is against one of the ten toughest schedules in the country.  Losses to Kentucky, UMass, Purdue Duke and Syracuse.  They have two decent wins...Cleveland State and Green Bay, both at home.


UT has been the story of the MAC this year.  They are 11-1 in D1, and were undefeated until losing @Kansas.  They have played the #242 ranked schedule.  Their best wins are over Cleveland State (124) @Arkansas State (#144) and @Boston College  (146).  Don't underestimate the fact that two of those were on the road.  They are 6-0 against teams with RPI from 101-150.  Even without a marquee win, the Rockets have had the best Non-conference season in the conference and it isn't close.


8-3 in D1 against the 125th ranked schedule.  I'd say OU is the sleeper so far.   They have losses to @Ohio State, UMass and @Oakland (their only bad loss).  Meanwhile, they have beaten Northern Iowa (86), Mercer (70), and @Richmond (91).  This is a good example of what a MAC team can do when it gets competitive teams in its arena.  Anyway, OU looks to be very solid this year.


The Zips are 8-5 against all D1 competition.  Their marquee wins are over Oral Roberts at the JAR and then Oregon State on a neutral floor.  They also won @Cleveland State.  Their only bad loss was @Middle Tennessee.  They barely beat a bad Marshall team on their home floor this week.  Anyway, Akron is probably a little underrated based on their non-conference performance.


The Flashes are 8-4 in D1 against the #246 schedule in D1.  They have lost at home to Bucknell and Cleveland State--a team with a decent RPI but who have been beaten by most of the top MAC teams this year.  Their best win is @Temple.  Of their 8 wins, however, 5 came against teams with RPI over 200.


Buffalo is 5-4 against the 208th ranked schedule.  They picked up a huge win @Drexel, but 3 of 5 D1 wins have been over teams with an RPI over 200.  They also lost to an awful Niagara team.

Northern Illinois

Really??  Yes.  Coach Montgomery is continuing the long road back. They are 5-6 in D1 against the #134 schedule.  With the exception of James Madison, all of their losses are to teams with an RPI over 150.  On the other hand, all of their wins are against teams with RPI over 200.  This happens plays a tough schedule, gets a good SOS ranking, and they end up with no bad losses and no quality wins.  Even so, NIU has a chance to finish 3rd in the West.


Miami is 4-6 against the 228th ranked schedule.  They have what is the MAC's worst loss this year, at home to a 5-4 DIII Wilmington team.  They also lost to Notre Dame, Arizona State and Xavier--all good losses--with only one +200 RPI loss and that was Evansville.  They beat IPFW and Wright State (neither of which BG did, though both games were at Millett), and they have two other +300 wins.


6-5 against the #266 schedule.  I always think Hawkins runs a pretty solid program but they have not been the same over the last few years.  Certainly had some transfer issues and could have some issues adjusting to the new foul rules.  They were masters of the hand check.  Anyway, they are probably a little underrated here.  They started their season with a big neutral court win over New Mexico State and while they don't have any other big wins, 4 of their 5 losses are to teams ranked in the top 100 and only one of those at home.  They did lose @Northwestern in a game where they scored 35 points.

Central Michigan

Yes, CMU is 7-5.  Two of those wins were against non-D1 competition (total joke games), and then every other win is over a team with an RPI of 266 or above.  They have also lost @Jacksonville State (298), @Bradley (264) and Montana State (260).  Overall, their schedule is ranked #334.

Ball State

The Cards are 1-8 in D1 games.  Their sole win is over SE Missouri State (220) in Muncie.  They also only lost by 1 to Butler (51) at home.  Their last two losses are to sub-200 teams...@SIU (311) and @James Madison (223).  They lost to Valpo (169) by 19 at home.  I believe they have the right Coach, this is just going to be, as they say, "a process."

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