CLEVELAND The Mid-American Conference announced today that Kent State (East Division) and Western Michigan (West Division) have been chosen as preseason favorites to win their respective divisions in mens basketball. Voting was conducted by members of the MAC News Media Association. The Golden Flashes were also tabbed to win the MAC Tournament.
Kent State was picked to repeat as MAC Champion by the media
Kent State finished last season with an overall record of 28-7 (13-3 MAC) and will be coming off its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 10 years. As the team enters its first season in the Geno Ford era, the Golden Flashes have their sights set on earning a second straight MAC Championship and extending its run of 10 consecutive 20-win seasons, a feat accomplish by just seven programs in the country. KSU welcomes back eight letterwinners, including three starters. Among those returning for the Golden Flashes is 2008 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American, Al Fisher. Fisher finished last season with 13.9 ppg., 4.0 apg and helped KSU earn a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest seed in school history. Fisher will highlight a core group of eight returnees that made up 65.1 percent of the offensive productive from last season.
The RedHawks were selected to finish second in the East Division and received seven votes to win the MAC Tournament Championship. Miami finished last season with a 17-16 overall record (9-7 MAC) and earned a berth in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) last season. The RedHawks will bring back 11 letterwinners, including four starters. Head Coach Charlie Coles welcomes back 2008 All-MAC second team selection Michael Bramos, as well as starters Tyler Dierkers, Kenny Hayes and Eric Pollitz. Overall, Miami returns 71.9 percent of its rebounding and 70.5 percent of its scoring from a season ago.
Bowling Green was selected to finish third in the East, while Akron was picked to finish fourth. Ohio and first-year head coach John Groce and Buffalo rounded out the East Division and were picked fifth and sixth, respectively. The Zips (NIT) and Bobcats (CBI) represented the MAC in postseason play last season.
Western Michigan received 15 first place votes to win the West Division and return a talented cast of eight letterwinners, including last years entire starting backcourt. Western Michigan finished 20-12 in 2007-08 and 12-4 in conference play to claim the MAC West and the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. 2008 All-MAC first team selection David Kool will return after leading the conference in scoring with 17.8 points per conference game and 16.3 points in all games.
Eastern Michigan received seven first place votes to win the West Division and two votes to win the MAC Tournament Championship. The Eagles welcome back 11 letterwinners, including three starters. Leading the charge in 2008-09 will be a trio of returning starters in point guard Carlos Medlock, wing Wendale Farrow and center Justin Dobbins. Medlock earned honorable mention All-MAC honors last year after finishing in the top nine in the MAC in five categories: eighth in scoring (14.8), fourth in assists (4.1), sixth in assists to turnover ratio (1.18), eighth in free throw percentage (.818) and ninth in three-point field goals made (2.03 per game).
Central Michigan was tabbed to place third in the West Division, while Toledo and new head coach Gene Cross were selected to finish fourth. Ball State and Northern Illinois rounded out the West Division predictions, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.
2008-09 MAC Mens Basketball Preseason Poll
MAC East Division
1. Kent State (16 first place votes) 124 points
2. Miami (6) 109 points
3. Bowling Green 70 points
4. Akron 67 points
5. Ohio 66 points
6. Buffalo 35 points
MAC West Divison
1. Western Michigan (15) 122 points
2. Eastern Michigan (7) 105 points
3. Central Michigan 79 points
4. Toledo 71 points
5. Ball State 55 points
6. Northern Illinois 39 points
Tournament Champion Votes:
Kent State (11), Miami (7), Bowling Green (2), Eastern Michigan (2)