Before the beginning of the year, a lot of people were unsure of the new MAC Tournament format because it was quite different than in years past. Previous years MAC Tournament had seeds 5-12 winning 4 games to win the conference, 1-4 seeds having to only win 4. Sure, it did reward the top seeds in the conference by giving them one less game to win in order to be crowned MAC champions, but it didn't reward the top of the conference they way they deserved to be rewarded. MAC teams play 16 conference games, all are suppose to be extremely important especially because the MAC has been a one bid league. Teams battle, fight, work their tails off from the first week of January all the way through the beginning of March to be given one less game to win than the worst team in the conference? It was a system that pretty much took the emphasis out of the regular season and put in squarely on whose hot come tourney time. That is not a way to send the conferences best team to the big dance.
This years MAC tourney system rewards the 3rd and 4th best team in the conference by giving them a bye to the quarterfinals, and highly rewards the top 2 teams by giving them a bye to the semi-finals. This puts teams 5-12 at a major disadvantage by forcing them to win 5 games to be crowned conference champions, but rightfully so. If you don't get it done during the regular season, why should teams that struggled throughout the year start pretty much dead even when the conference tourney comes around? The main purpose of the conference tournament is to send your league's best team to the NCAA tournament to represent the conference. This new format does a lot better a job of that than the old systems did. Is it a perfect system? Absolutely not. Does it do a lot better job giving the best/most proven teams in the conference an advantage when the conference tournament comes around because they earned it? You better believe it does.
This first year with the new system is doing its job by making hard for the conferences unproven teams to advance and giving the best teams a real shot at winning the MAC Championship. Even though it wasn't "chalk" through the first few games, the Mid-American Conference has its best 4 teams playing in the conference semi-finals. Any objective fan would want teams 4 best teams playing in the conference semi-finals, and the MAC should love it too. All 4 of these teams have the ability to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, which I cant say the same for any of the other 8 teams in the conference. That's the objective of the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, to get your conferences best team into the big dance. The MAC has Akron vs Kent State, and Buffalo vs Ohio in its semi-finals. That produces the most exciting/competitive semi-finals the MAC could ever dream of, but more importantly the MAC will have its 2 most deserving teams a chance to be crowned Mid-American Conference Champions.