The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


Follow KentWired on Instagram
Today’s Events

RECAP: Looking back: What did the men’s basketball preseason poll get right?

Yasmeen Matthews
Kent State’s men’s basketball team huddles together during the 2nd half of the game against NIU on Feb. 17, 2024.

As the college basketball regular season winds down, now is a good time to look at the Mid-American Conference standings and see if they align with the coaches’ preseason predictions. 

No. 1 Akron Zips (19-6, 11-1), preseason No. 1   

The Zips received 11 of the 12 first-place votes in the preseason and have proven the coaches right, as they have held first place since the start of the conference schedule.

Akron’s only conference loss was a 70-68 defeat at Miami, but the Zips have key wins against Kent State, Toledo and Central Michigan. They will play Toledo on Feb. 20 and Kent State on Feb. 23.

No. 2 Toledo Rockets (16-9, 10-2), preseason No. 4

Toledo has been the MAC regular-season champion each of the last three seasons but has failed to win the conference tournament in any of those years. The team is in striking range of first place, but for the Rockets, the main focus should be winning the MAC tournament.

Toledo has a pair of wins over Ohio, a win against Central Michigan and a loss to Akron.

No. 3 Central Michigan Chippewas (15-10, 9-3), preseason No. 12

The Chippewas have been surprising this season, as they find themselves just two games behind Akron after being voted as the worst MAC team in the preseason polls.

Their best win is over Toledo, and they also have another solid win against Bowling Green. They have losses to Ohio and Akron. 

The team’s loss to Akron is its only loss in their last eight games, as Central Michigan appears to be hitting its stride at the right time.

No. 4 Bowling Green Falcons (16-9, 7-5), preseason T-No 6.

The Falcons got off to a 5-1 start in conference play, only losing to Akron in that stretch. Since then, they are 2-4 in conference and have slipped in the standings.

Bowling Green has lost to teams below it in the standings, such as Kent State and Eastern Michigan. 

The Falcons must figure it out before the conference tournament, but they don’t have much time to do so.

No. 5 Ohio Bobcats (13-12, 7-5), preseason No. 3

The Bobcats were the only teams besides Akron to receive a first-place vote, but they haven’t been very impressive so far.

They beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones, leaving them in the middle of the conference. Their only impressive conference win came against Central Michigan on Jan 16.

Most Bobcat fans would say they are nowhere near where they wanted to be or expected to be at this point.

No. 6 Kent State Golden Flashes (13-12, 6-6), preseason No. 2

The Flashes have failed to meet expectations after winning the MAC tournament last season. In too many games, Kent State appears unready or unmotivated. 

Their best win is an overtime-road win at Bowling Green. Outside of Bowling Green, the Flashes have lost to every team that they are tied with or that they trail in the standings. They also had a pitiful loss against Eastern Michigan, in which they were up 17 in the second half.

However, they could be turning it around, as they have won three straight conference games.

No. 7 Miami RedHawks (12-13, 6-6), preseason T-No. 6

The RedHawks sit right where the coaches predicted, tied at sixth. They have lost to teams worse than them, such as Western Michigan and Northern Illinois, but they are also responsible for Akron’s only MAC loss.

Four of their final five opponents will be against teams currently fifth or higher, so Miami will have to be prepared, as that stretch will play a big role in their conference tournament seeding.

No. 8 Western Michigan Broncos (8-17, 5-7), preseason No. 10

The Broncos have done better than expected but still aren’t any sort of threat in the MAC. 

They had a strong 4-0 start but have been miserable since, going 1-8 in their last nine games. Western Michigan does have a couple of good wins over Miami and Ohio, but the team has lost to most teams in the conference.

If the season ended today, they would be the last team to qualify for the conference tournament, as only eight of the 12 teams make it.

No. 9 Ball State Cardinals (12-13, 4-8), preseason No. 8

Ball State is close to where the coaches predicted.

Their four conference wins are against teams that are all at the bottom of the conference. Right now, the Cardinals’ main focus is trying to get themselves up to at least eighth in the standings in order to make the conference tournament.

They have already beaten Western Michigan and will play that program again, so the Broncos can potentially slide into the eighth seed.

No. 10 Northern Illinois Huskies (9-16, 3-9), preseason No. 5

NIU has not been anywhere close to where the coaches thought they would be. Last year, they were the seventh seed in the conference tournament.

The Huskies started 0-8 in conference play this season and got a few easier opponents, which they took advantage of, as they won three straight conference games before falling to Kent State on Feb. 17.

Northern Illinois will have to make a late-season push if it wants to get a spot in the conference tournament, as the team is currently two games behind the eighth seed.

No. 11 Eastern Michigan Eagles (10-15, 3-9), preseason No. 11

The Eagles were not given much of a chance in the preseason, and they have proven the coaches right, sitting at No. 11 right now.

Their conference wins have been few and far between. They picked up a win over Kent State in their second conference game before going on a five-game losing streak, which ended with a win over Buffalo. 

After another three-game conference losing streak, the Eagles took down Bowling Green on Feb. 17.

Eastern Michigan, like NIU, will have to make a push, as they are two games back from the eighth seed.

No. 12 Buffalo Bulls (3-22, 1-11), preseason No. 9

The Bulls were 9-9 in the MAC last year and the sixth seed in the MAC tournament, but they have looked horrendous this year.

They have one of the worst offenses in college basketball, only scoring 67.2 points per game.

Their lone conference win came at Central Michigan way back on Jan. 2, where the team beat Georgia Southern by a point on Feb. 10 in the MAC-Sun Belt challenge.

Demetri Manousos is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Yasmeen Matthews, Assistant Photo Editor
Yasmeen is a sophomore Photography Major and KentWired's Assistant Photo Editor. She enjoys taking photos of the various sports teams as well as student life on Kent's campus. Contact her @[email protected].

Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *