MAC Hoops Roundtable for mid-January
At the beginning of the year, we welcomed the new MAC Hoops Roundtable. Now, a third of the way into conference play, with intra-divisional games about to start, it’s my pleasure to host the roundtable. That means I got to ask the questions, and I get to decide whose answers were best!
1. Getting a second NCAA bid: did Ohio screw the MAC’s only chance, or is there still hope?
Phil Friend (Hustle Belt):
I may be in the minority on this but I think the MAC is/was going to be a one-bid league regardless. Ohio was a nine-seed in 2010 when the Bobcats won this thing and then beat Georgetown. Moral: Anyone can win the MAC tourney (unless it’s Ball State).
2. Parity or fluke? Ohio started conference play 1-2, while the directional Michigan schools, which combined for a 16-25 non-conference record, each went 2-1.
It has nothing to do with parity. Until we hit cross over play there is no good way to measure the East against the West. In the West you have Toledo and NIU which are almost a given.
When we hit cross division play expect the East to take at least three quarters of the games.
Brown and Gold (Hustle Belt):
Parity, I guess. In the East, it’s so competitive top-to-bottom that 1-2 for Ohio was somewhat predictable. In the West, you are talking a decent CMU team, a good WMU team, and the only real surprise is Eastern and their shocker against Ball State. But when you play that Syracuse zone and force teams to shoot well against you, that happens. Otherwise, attribute it to scheduling.
3. If you could steal one player from another MAC team to add to your school’s team for the rest of this season only, who would you take?
Four of the six answers to this chose Julian Mavunga (see the next question), and I’d probably take him for EMU too; the Eagles could use a scoring threat. Here are the exceptions, who incidentally, are both Bowling Green fans:
Well, the obvious answer is McCrea or Jones. But, if I was looking for a guy who could really compliment the guys the Falcons already have, I’d say a scoring guard–Ziegler, or, if that seems greedy, Zach Filzen.
Matt Sussman (Hustle Belt):
Two months ago I’d say they needed a scoring guard, but between Scott Thomas, Dee Brown and Jordon Crawford, one or two of them usually have good enough nights from that position. However, BGSU desperately needs help on the perimeter defense. With Calhoun, Oglesby and Black underneath they’re decent enough on the boards and post-game, but those guards are getting demolished out there. I’d nab Michael Porrini from Kent State. Best defensive guard in the MAC.
4. Miami’s Julian Mavunga leads the MAC in both points per game and rebounds per game. Make the case for someone else as Player of the Year.
Brandon Hickey (Hustle Belt):
As stated before, I would love to have this guy on my team. It’s tough to pick someone else as the MAC POY, because Mavunga does it all. I guess if I had to pick one it’d be Kent’s Justin Greene. I have a lot of respect for him and his play. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding and shoots over 50%. His only problem seems to be getting in foul trouble, and as evidenced in the Buffalo game the Flashes are a different team when he is not playing. The MAC seems to be a power forward league, and Greene is one of the best.
5. Rank ’em.
There seems to be general agreement on the best and worst teams, with some confusion in the middle. Northern Illinois was a unanimous last place, while only one person failed to rank Toledo #11 and Central Michigan #10 (Phil Friend put Miami at #11, Toledo at #10, and Central Michigan at #9). Almost everyone had Akron at #1 (Falcon Blog gave the top spot to Kent State while Matt Sussman gave it to Ball State) and everyone had Ohio at either #2 or #3. The teams with the biggest range were Ball State and EMU — no one is really sure how the best teams of the West will stack up against the middle and bottom of the East — who were ranked as low as #8 (Falcon Blog) and #9 (Falcon Blog) respectively, and as high as #1 (Matt Sussman) and #3 (me, with the benefit of having seen Saturday’s games before making my ranking) respectively.
3. Kent State
4. Ball State
6. Bowling Green
8. Western Michigan
10. Central Michigan
12. Northern Illinois