This weeks questions come from Falcon 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?
Their records against the other top three teams in the tournament were 2-1 Akron, 3-0 Buffalo, 1-1 Kent. It's hard to argue they were not the best team in the MAC this year. How OU won, and how Akron got to the finals showed that any team could have won. They beating Buffalo on a late missed three and Akron on a missed tip in. I assuime had they faced Kent some similar drama would have ensued.
A run? I don't think this years Ohio team is up to it, especially if they draw a 14 or 15 seed. But the thing about the Bobcats is that nobody graduates. They are my very early pick to win the MAC next season. Kent and Buffalo are losing some Key players. Akron is not getting of scott free either. Should Ohio hold it together for a nother year being a top 50 team, or better, is not out of the question next season.
#2) Akron was dominant for so much of the season and then went 3-4 from the bracket buster in. What happened?
Well OU caught their stride and Buffalo had their number. Throw that up there with the terrible showing most MAC teams had in the Buster and there is your fourth loss. It stinks for the Zips because if they win their bracket buster and beat either Buffalo or Ohio they might be a bubble team. At the very least they would have a higher NIT bid.
#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?
Yes. Short of telling the bottom two teams, despite them winning this season, to stay home this is the best it's going to get and they should keep it. It just about guarentees that the runner up in the tournament has a chance for a quality, top 100, win in the semi finals.
#4) Are there any coaches in the MAC you think won't be back? Either because they're moving up or moving out?
I expect this to be a pretty stable year in coaching. In the west EMU, NIU, and Toledo all showed some promise. A first round upset and trip to Cleveland may have saved Zeigler at CMU. It was a flat year for Ball State but they are trending ok, same for Western.
In the east we know Coles is retireing and I am sure Groce may get a look but he seems pretty happy at Ohio. Witherspoon has not done enough and Dambrot always gets overlooked.
#5) The last I looked, the MAC was the 20th ranked conference. Give you State of the MAC address. Is basketball improving? Is it where it should be? What can make it better?
No, really the MAC should be shooting for a top 15 conference. That's where you start to hit safe double bid territory and its the only goal which is both realistic yet yields Tangible Benefits.
It seems to me Hoops is improving over what it was a couple of years ago but there is a ton of PR damage control that needs to be addressed. The perception of the MAC, both by fans and critics, is a bit worse than the reality of the MAC. Until that perception changes deserving MAC teams will get snubbed (not that we have a deserving at large bid this year, but Akron was close).
The new format is a start. Both the tournament and revenue sharing are good motivators for conference teams to get their act together (Im looking at you MAC West). The other thing we need is for MAC teams to start beating top 50 programs more regularly. You don't have to go into the dome and knock off the orange but the top MAC teams need to knock off top 50 teams at least half the time if they actually want to be seen as top 50 teams.