The Buffalo Bulls are on a 7 game win streak following their 66-62 victory at Central Michigan on Wednesday night, and have to keep up that pace in order to be in prime position when the MAC tournament comes around. Their record currently stands at 8-2 in MAC play, sole possession of the all important 2nd spot in the conference standings. In case you didn't know the MAC Tournament format has changed this year. Its hard to explain in writing, but basically the top 2 seeds need to only win 2 tournament games in order to be MAC champions, while everyone else has to win either 3 or 5 games in order to be crowned MAC champs. Getting one of the top 2 seeds is beyond critical for every team in the conference; luckily the Bulls control their own destiny.
How does their schedule look down the stretch? Well, fairly favorable from here on out. 4 of the remaining 6 conference games are at Alumni Arena, a place where the Bulls are 9-1 this year. Winning their remaining games at home is critical since the Bulls 2 conference road games are at Kent St, and at Akron, places they never win at. That would put the Bulls at 12-4, and they will almost certainly put you as one of the top 2 teams in the MAC.
The one team I'm worried about is Kent State. I'd like to first give them the props they are due. A Kent State victory this Saturday would make it the 4th straight year that the Golden Flashes win all 6 games vs the MAC West. Talk about winning the games you're suppose to win, Kent State are the masters at that. When you're the master of winning the games you're suppose to win, you expect yourself to win at home down the stretch. I think most people felt Kent State were having a flat year, since they started conference play 2-3. Well those 3 losses came at Buffalo, at Akron, and at Ohio. That means they have all 3 of those powers at home, and should almost certainly get at least a victory in one of the road games against BGSU and Miami(OH). Kent State is only a game behind the Bulls, so a Buffalo let down in any of their home games would be devastating.
Ohio doesn't scare me so much, but considering them out of it would be a mistake. They probably have the most talent in the MAC, and proved it in the non-conference by getting some top 25 votes. They've leveled off since then, mostly because they're clearly a step worse than they are at home. Ohio is 6-0 at home in conference play so far, but only 1-3 on the road. Unfortunately for them, 4 of their remaining 6 conference games are on the road, and when you're a bad road team your chances of catching up to the front of the pack are fairly bad.
Bowling Green is an interesting team, not because of their record, but because of how they've played. Losing to Akron by 1 and to Buffalo by 2 is going to be what did them in this year, but at times the Falcons have looked like the best team in the conference. I know they lost a game vs the West, but to me they've clearly looked like the best team in the MAC for the past few weeks. Just like the the Bobcats of Ohio, BGSU has tough road games in the near future, and its hard to play catch-up when your schedule reads at Ohio, at Akron, and at Buffalo finish off the season.
Akron is in prime position at the top right now. The Zips are 9-1 so far in the MAC, and have played very well over the past few weeks (disregarding the win they escaped with at Western Michigan). Mostly home games from here on out for them, but I'm sure they'll lose at least a game or 2 in the last few weeks of the season. Ohio, Buffalo, and Kent State are not the teams you want to see at the most critical time of the year. Being at top is always where you want to be, but they're going to have to fight to hold their position.
I'm gonna predict a 3 way tie between Buffalo, Akron, and Kent when the season is all over. Lets hope Buffalo holds the right tiebreakers in order to get one of the top 2 seeds in the conference tourney.