Intertourney MAC Hoops Roundtable
This time around, the MAC Hoops Roundtable was hosted by Falcon Blog, the Bowling Green blog.
1. OU has won the MAC’s automatic bid. What do you think? Did the best team win? What are their chances of making a run in the tourney, especially coming out of a lower seed?
I think the best team did win, and they may have the best coach in the conference as well. One element is a constant in post-season NCAA hoops, and that is great point guard play can carry you far. With DJ Cooper, OU can string a win or two togther in the tournament. His matchup with Trey Burke will be terrific to watch, Burke may be more talented, but Cooper has taken his team to the dance before and had success. Michigan/Ohio is one of the best of the first round matchups.
Well they had the best overall record in the MAC and they won the tournament, so I guess they were the best team. I guess that’s one of the things I hate about this time of year, if a team picks it up and wins the tournament they aren’t necessarily considered the best team by the punditry. To that, I say that they picked it up at the right time. As for their chances, I guess it all depends on how well their vaunted 3-point defense shuts down Michigan’s vaunted 3-point attack. If they can do that and Michigan can’t adjust, they make it at least one round.
There are arguments to be made for Akron, Buffalo, and Ohio as the best team in the MAC this year, so if the goal is to have the best team win, mission accomplished. Plus, I have trouble seeing Akron or Buffalo getting any better than the 13 seed the Bobcats managed.
2. Akron was dominant for so much of the season and then went 3-4 from the BracketBuster in. What happened?
I’ve always felt Zeke Marshall is overrated. He just can’t seem to carry the team when they need him. This once again leads to the truth that the MAC is a guard-oriented conference, and if you just can’t rely on a big to be the man.
Add in their NIT loss to Northwestern and the Zips went 3-5 to close the season. I think part of that has to do with their schedule: their last five regular-season games were the BracketBuster (which tries to match comparable teams), the top three other MAC teams (Ohio, Buffalo, and Kent State), and Bowling Green. A 2-3 regular-season finish wouldn’t have been at all surprising, and they only did one game worse than that. They won their MAC tournament semifinal game, and the lost the final by one point to Ohio, which again, while not the expected outcome, was not particularly surprising either.
3. Well, we debated it all year, now we can review it directly. What did you think of the MAC tournament format? Did it work? Should they keep it?
Suck, suck, suck.
Seriously, when the head coach of one of the teams that was supposed to have benefited from the new format complains about it (EMU women’s basketball head coach AnnMarie Gilbert), you know something is wrong. The women’s tournament is worse than the men’s, because the women played their last regular-season games on February 28 while the men finished March 3; the top women’s seeds had nine days off, while the top men’s seeds had a more-reasonable five-day break. Ideally I’d like to see the MAC completely drop divisions from basketball (including from scheduling), but if the divisions are retained for scheduling, they should also have some meaning in the tournament. I’d also much prefer a standard 12-team tournament with the top four seeds getting single byes, but regardless of the format, the scheduling on the women’s side must be fixed. A nine-day layoff at this point in the season is far too long.
Dislike. The MAC should return to the old format. The 3-4 seeds have an advantage in that they have less time off and can shake off the jitters against lesser competition. Too much time off for the top seeds. Seeds 1-4 should get a first round bye and that is all. I don’t have a problem with seeding on record, EMU would not have deserved to be the number 2 seed this year.
4. Are there any coaches in the MAC you think won’t be back, either because they’re moving up or moving out?
Based on straight records, I would say two….:)
John Groce could easily be moving on. Other than that, I don’t see any others moving up, so to speak, unless Reggie Witherspoon is ready to leave sunny Buffalo. Billy Taylor and Ernie Ziegler are in serious trouble, although I bet the presence of Trey will force CMU to keep Ziegler for one more year.
5. The last I looked, the MAC was the 20th ranked conference. Give your State of the MAC address. Is basketball improving? Is it where it should be? What can make it better?
I remember the days where the MAC was starting to get two teams in the NCAA tournament. So I would say until the MAC gets back to that, basketball isn’t where it should be.
The MAC still plays an entertaining brand of basketball, but it seems to have been surpassed by others over the last decade. There was a time when the MAC ranked higher than the Missouri Valley and West Coast Conference. Those days are long over. An easy argument can be made that the Colonial has also surpassed the MAC. Right now the MAC is fending off the Horizon League, I’d say top to bottom the MAC is still better but obviously no team in the MAC has come close to the success of Butler. Ray McCallum could have Detroit going strong as well, especially as they build on this years success and bring in Juwan Howard Jr. next year. A player who left the MAC for U of D…