And that's it.
And not with a bang, but with a whimper. The Zips lost by 16 to Texas-Arlington in the NIT to finish 27-9.
It was not a great post-season for the MAC. Kent got hot and won the MAC tournament but got a really poor seed due to its pre-hot performance and therefore a very tough assignment in the first round.
That's five straight opening round losses for the MAC. The last team to get any wins was OU in 2012, when they made the Sweet 16.
MAC Basketball is pretty much stuck right in the middle of D1 right now. There are 32 conferences and the kenpom ranking has the MAC #14. That's behind the Southern and ahead of the Sun Belt and Summit.
We are pretty much in the middle where we have been over the past 15 years. MAC Basketball hit a low point in 2009 (the year BG won the regular season title) and did not begin to rebound until 2012, when the whole thing got on an upward track...which has regressed the last two years.
As currently constituted, there's a ceiling on how high the thing is going to go. Simply put, it is a challenge for schools with our size and finances to maintain good football and basketball programs at the same time. Of the teams that won byes to the tourney--Akron, OU, Buffalo and Ball State--only OU had a strong football team. Similarly, the eventual champion and traditional power...Kent...is not good at football.
On the flip side, NIU, BG and WMU have won the most football titles in recent years, and of them only WMU was even passably good in basketball.
Small sample, I know. But I think it holds up. Also, the top 4 seeds in the NCAA tournament are Kansas (lousy football), UNC (average football), Villanova (FCS football) and Gonzaga (no football).
Yes, I know the Big 10 does it. No, I don't have an explanation for that.
Anyway, just an annual note that the MAC was once a "thinking man's" basketball conference, and now I just think we're average.
By the way, one thing is interesting. For a LONG TIME people have said "it is hard to win on the road in the MAC." And by people, I mean coaches who just lost a road game. The home team won only 54% of the games this year in the conference, with was the 26th ranked winning percentage. There were only 6 conferences where it was lower.