Monday, January 16, 2006

Week 9 Power Rankings: Where it's hard to rank teams that are all undefeated...

[Guest blogging at Hoops Junkie this week...]

Another good week of MAC play behind us, with the East taking it to the West on almost every turn. The East is now 21-4 in league play, while the West lingers at a 5-22 mark. It's kind of arbitrary who you select at the top of the heap when there are four undefeated teams to choose from. Akron scored the best victory of the week on paper by beating NIU, but all of the four teams made impressive showings for the week. One more week before things get interesting and some separation can start to occur...

As usual, you are encouraged to make a visit to Vandelay Sports for their Power Rankings. Compare... contrast... talk amongst yourselves...

1. Akron (10-3, 4-0) (2) - A solid win over NIU rounded out the week for the Zips, keeping their 5-game win streak intact. A busy, but very favorable, slate awaits, with games against Eastern and Central after an out-of-conference matchup with Cleveland St. this evening.

2. Ohio (10-2, 4-0) (1) – Ohio has done everything it needs to do at this point, racking up wins against cellar-dweller West teams. Things will get a little more interesting this week, with road trips to Toledo and NIU.

3. Miami (8-5, 5-0) (3) – The Redhawks keep delivering low scoring, hard fought, close call victories. Time will tell if they will be able to continue this way against East foes. UT and a road trip to WMU up next before joining in-division play.

4. Kent State (10-5, 4-0) (6) - Kent hasn't been spectacular, but have certainly been solid while building a 4 game win streak. BSU coach Buckley says they are "the best team we’ve played so far" (over Ohio and Akron). Upcoming: an interesting road contest at NIU.

5. Northern Illinois (8-5, 3-2) (5) – The only West team that's been respectable against the East opponents. The Huskies are firmly in the driver's seat as the in-division contests heat up in a week. Tough upcoming schedule (Ohio, Kent, Toledo) is helped by all of the games being at home.

6. Buffalo (12-3, 2-2) (4) – A disappointing loss to Toledo has put the Bulls in a 2 game hole in the MAC East race. Should come out of this week with a 4-2 mark against BSU and CMU, but likely still 2 games off of the pace.

7. Bowling Green (6-8, 2-2) (11) – Seem to be somewhat catching their stride after a pretty solid week, with a heartbreaking one-point defeat at NIU followed by a big win over UT. A favorable schedule this week could lead the Falcons to a 4-2 conference mark heading into their East schedule.

8. Toledo (8-5, 1-4) (10) – A 50/50 week for the Rockets, with a big win against the Bulls followed by a disappointing defeat at BG. Need a good showing against Ohio and Miami this week to catch up with NIU.

9. Western Michigan (4-10, 1-3) (8) – Not a good week, with 2 losses to upper tier East teams. Still holding onto a tie for 2nd due to their win against BG, and thus holding a higher spot in this ranking than the rest of the MAC West cellar.

10. Ball State (4-8, 0-4) (7) – Until the Cards prove that they can win a game, no amount of close calls and measured improvement will get them anywhere in the standings or the tournament seedings. Tough road trip to Buffalo upcoming.

11. Eastern Michigan (3-9, 0-4) (9) – Ditto for Eastern. They haven't been blown out in conference play, but no points granted here for staying close to the East leaders. Best opportunity in a month awaits: a home game against BGSU.

12. Central Michigan (2-11, 0-5) (12) - The same can't be said for the Chips. Blowout after blowout against the East division, culminating in a 2 FG effort in the first half of their blowout at OU. Not any easier this week, with Akron and Buffalo on tap.

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