Wow! Just one week, and theres been a complete reshuffling of the Mid-American deck. This is probably the most radical one-week change in the rankings weve ever done. Critics might take this as a sign of league-wide mediocrity, while optimists could argue its depth. I still think were going to see a clear divide emerge between the conferences top teams and the rest.
Heres how things stand this week. Last weeks ranking is next to a teams record.
1. Buffalo (10-4, 3-0) (4): Since a shellacking at Purdue Dec. 5, the Bulls have won 7 of their last 8. Buffalo sports the 14th most experienced team in the country, and that can only help as they move forward through conference play. A split this week would give them a 4-1 record in their first trip through the East, setting them up nicely for a run at their first outright championship.
This week: @Kent (Wednesday), @Ohio (Saturday)
2. Akron (12-5, 2-1) (2): Taking one of two on the road is generally a positive, though fading in the second half at Buffalo cant set well with the Zip faithful. For a team as deep as Akron is, they might rely on Brett McKnight a little too much; McKnight takes 35.5% of the teams shots when hes on the floor. Thats Luke Harangody territory.
This week: Miami (Wednesday), @Kent (Saturday)
3. Western Michigan (10-6, 2-1) (3): True, the Broncos only have one road win this year (Eastern Illinois) and they sit second in the West standings. WMU is still the class of the division and has the conferences best player. Its going to take more than a one-game separation in the standings to convince me otherwise. If the Broncos can keep cleaning up on the offensive glass- they pull down 36.9% of possible offensive rebounds- road wins should start coming.
This week: @Ball State (Wednesday), Toledo (Saturday)
4. Miami (5-11, 2-1) (9): Call them the second half Hawks. Miami protected home court after trailing at halftime in both games and looking poor in the first half. Julian Mavunga was huge both games, and we could be seeing the man start to fulfill some of his potential. However, the beating at Buffalo showed they cannot get away with just one good half. They have to play 40 minutes to avoid a similar result at the JAR.
This week: @Akron (Wednesday), Bowling Green (Saturday)
5, Northern Illinois (7-8, 3-0) (8): Maybe a change in decade is what the Huskies needed? NIU is 5-0 since the new year and leads the West early. Colorado transfer Xavier Silas has been gangbusters after initially struggling in non-conference play. The next test comes at Mt. Pleasant this week, their first road game against a division contender.
This week: @Toledo (Wednesday), @Central Michigan (Saturday)
6. Central Michigan (7-8, 2-1) (5): Smothering Ball State last week must have been fun. The Chips are the poster child for the live by the 3, die by the 3 philosophy with 35.3% of their points coming from deep. Maybe thats why theyre not getting to the line much.
This week: @Eastern Michigan (Wednesday), Northern Illinois (Sunday)
7. Kent State (10-7, 1-2) (1): Yes, the Flashes just dropped a home game to the Falcons, but I still think Kent is the better team. Ever since halftime at Miami, the Flashes have been playing positively dreadful basketball. Geno Ford has to rally the troops because this week is a potentially season-breaking homestand.
This week: Buffalo (Wednesday), Akron (Saturday)
8. Bowling Green (8-7, 1-2) (10): Showing some signs of life, hanging tough with Buffalo and surprising Kent at the MAC Center. The Falcons are giving up a ton of three-pointers (37.5% of opponents points), a foreboding sign this week with two teams on the slate that like to shoot the three ball.
This week: Ohio (Wednesday), Miami (Saturday)
9. Eastern Michigan (9-7. 1-2) (7): Forget contending for the West title, the Eagles are suddenly in a fight to make the top half of the division. EMU has three straight home games, and theyre going to have to win all three if they want to be any sort of factor.
This week: Central Michigan (Wednesday), Ball State (Saturday)
10. Ohio (9-8, 0-3) (6): Pretty simple scouting report for the Bobcats: Take the game inside. Ohio is only getting 46.4% of their points from two-point shots (303rd nationally) while opponents are scoring 53.6% of their points inside the arc.
This week: @Bowling Green (Wednesday), Buffalo (Saturday)
11. Ball State (7-8, 1-2) (11): Before Sundays win against Toledo, the Cardinals had not scored 50 points on a D-I team in their last six tries. BSU plays decent defense (120th nationally in efficiency), but even the best defense in the country isnt going to overcome their offensive ineptitude.
This week: Western Michigan (Wednesday), @Eastern Michigan (Saturday)
12. Toledo (3-14, 0-3) (12): I get the feeling this spot is reserved for the Rockets for some time. A 55-54 home defeat at the hands of Indiana St. Dec. 19 was the last time Toledo has been within 10 points of an opponent. If woeful Ball State can score 70 on them, theres really no limit on how ugly this season can get.
This week: Northern Illinois (Wednesday), @Western Michigan (Saturday)