Let’s take a look.
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2. Toledo (17-9, 9-4 MAC) – The Rockets move up a spot after splitting their two games last week. Kent State pulled out a 76-75 win at Toledo Saturday. That broke a six-game UT win streak. However, the Rockets bounced back with a 68-66 road win over Akron in a battle of divisional heavyweights.
3. Akron (17-9, 8-5 MAC) – Last week’s leader slides down to the third spot after dropping two straight. For a top-notch MAC power and title contender, the Zips are certainly susceptible to an upset loss here and there. They have a fairly friendly schedule down the stretch –IF they can take care of business. The mid-week game at Buffalo should be a particularly good challenge.
4. Bowling Green (17-7, 9-4 MAC) – The Falcons, who were also No. 4 last week, missed a chance to move up by losing at home to Miami Wednesday. That ended a four-game BGSU win streak. The Falcons defense should keep them in every game. This week, however, won’t be easy with Buffalo at home and Ohio on the road. BGSU has not lost two straight this year, so chances are they will be ready for the Bulls at home.
5. Kent State (18-8, 9-4 MAC) – The Flashes hold serve at No. 5 after going 2-0 last week. A 76-75 overtime win at Toledo was particularly impressive as KSU bounced back nicely from its loss to rival Akron the previous week. With road games at Ohio and Miami this week, the Flashes will need to keep pack their momentum for the road.
6. Western Michigan (16-10, 7-6 MAC) – The Broncos move up two spots after posting wins over NIU and Ohio. Saturday’s home tilt against Ohio will be a big one. WMU won the first encounter in overtime, 81-78.
7. Buffalo (16-9, 7-6 MAC) – The Bulls finally got back in the win column with a 78-63 win at Eastern Michigan. UB may have the toughest schedule of the week, going to Bowling Green Saturday and then hosting Akron in its next outing.
8. Eastern Michigan (16-10, 5-8 MAC) – The Eagles continued to ride the roller coaster last week by splitting a pair of tough games at home. After edging Akron, 78-75, EMU absorbed a 15-point loss against Buffalo. Eastern has allowed 69 or more points in each of its last five outings, albeit the 83-69 win over Miami probably included some garbage time points. Still opponents tallied 75 or more points in the other four games. That doesn’t seem very EMU-like.
9. Miami (10-16, 5-8 MAC) – The RedHawks move up after a 2-0 week. That in itself is a somewhat encouraging sign for John Cooper’s crew. They are the first back-to-back wins in conference play and second win streak all year. The first win came against rival Ohio last Saturday as MU retired former player and coach Charlie Cole’s No. 10. The second victory was an 11-point road win over Bowling Green, which had the MAC’s top conference record. After Saturday’s game at Akron, Miami has three straight home games. However, it’s a tough schedule: Kent, BGSU and Akron before a road finale at Ohio.
10. Northern Illinois (10-14, 4-9 MAC) – Despite going 0-2 last week, the Huskies “hang on” to the 10th spot. NIU had a tough task in facing Western Michigan and Central Michigan – both on the road. Northern lost by four and two points, respectively. The Huskies will see both teams – at home – in two weeks. However, they face Eastern (home) and Toledo (away) this week.
11. Ohio (9-15, 4-9 MAC) – The Bobcats fell in both road contest last week, losing by 11 points each to Miami and Western Michigan. Ohio ranks last among MAC teams in scoring defense (71.1 ppg) and is also last in scoring margin (minus-3.9). With two home games this week, its time for OU to halt its current losing streak and build some kind of momentum down the stretch.
12. Ball State (7-17, 2-11 MAC) – Two more losses run the Cardinals current streak to 11 games. BSU’s last victory was an 83-65 win over Central Michigan back on January 10 and followed a conference-opening overtime victory over Eastern Michigan. Junior forward Bo Calhoun had 18 points to lead the Cardinals against CMU. Freshman Francis Kiapway led the way with 16 versus BGSU and has reached double figures in three of the last five contests.