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In MACtion we trust: How Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball conference opponents are faring in non-conference play

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UB Athletics

Eight games in and UB Women’s Basketball is still undefeated with an unblemished 8-0 record. The Bulls are easily one of the best teams in the MAC right now, so it’s as good of time as any to see where they stack up with the other 11 teams in the conference. Overall the MAC has three distinct tiers where all of its teams are at in this point of the season.

So before we catch up on how the other MAC teams are doing in respect to Buffalo with a little more detail, here are the RealTimeRPI Power Ratings for each team:

Mid-American Conference Power Ratings

Rank Team National Power Rating Record
Rank Team National Power Rating Record
1 Ohio 53 (7-0)
2 Buffalo 58 (8-0)
3 Toledo 104 (7-1)
4 Ball State 111 (6-3)
5 Central Michigan 119 (7-3)
6 Western Michigan 151 (7-2)
7 Eastern Michigan 159 (3-5)
8 Akron 162 (4-2)
9 Northern Illinois 215 (5-3)
10 Bowling Green 274 (2-6)
11 Kent State 278 (6-4)
12 Miami (OH) 284 (2-6)
RealTimeRPI, as of 9:30AM 12 December

Tier 1: Championship Contenders

So we know that the MAC is a type of league where just about anyone can beat anybody, but this list of teams are the cream of the crop right now.

1. Ohio Bobcats (7-0)

Head coach Bob Boldon has Ohio as a mid-major power once again this season. Led by a dominant force in Quiera Lampkins, Ohio is the other end of the argument when detailing whether or not Buffalo is the class of the MAC. Lampkins leads all scorers with 19.3 per game and also brings in a whopping 9.7 rebounds per game as well.

Ohio started off with a mediocre schedule where in their first four games their best opponent was a currently (2-7) Tennessee-Martin team. Since, the Bobcats have rattled off quality wins versus a (2-4) Middle-Tennessee team and (5-6) Duquesne—Both of which have had some of the toughest schedules in the country. The Bobcats have also brought home a quality win versus IUPUI, who took down Missouri earlier this year.

When they play Buffalo: 1/4 (away) and 2/22 (home)

2. Buffalo Bulls (8-0)

If you’re reading this and you’re surprised, then you’ve been living under a rock my friend. Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has taken a junior-laden Buffalo team to a perfect 8-0 record—tying the best start to a season in program history. The Bulls are lead by JoAnna Smith’s 14 points per game but the real story is UB’s depth. The Bulls have hands down the deepest bench in the entire conference where all of the scholarship players can make meaningful contributions.

UB has also seen strong performances from Cassie Oursler, Gabi Bade, and freshman Summer Hemphill. Add in the fact that floor general Stephanie Reid has found her groove and this team will be tough to beat in the MAC.

3. Toledo Rockets (7-1)

Tricia Cullop has put together an extremely capable Toledo team this season. The Rockets are full of juniors and sophomores this year and are a lot like Buffalo in the fact that they play deep into the bench. Toledo is playing great basketball this season, with their only loss being by two points to #9 UCLA. Buffalo is going to be challenged heavily in both matchups with the Rockets as the entire starting five carries a relatively equal scoring load.

When they play Buffalo: 1/11 (home) and 2/1 (away)

4. Ball State Cardinals (6-3)

Buffalo couldn’t find a way past the Cardinals this season and its going to be tough again this year. Brady Sallee has a lot of key seniors on this team—including Renee Bennett, a 6-5 Center that’s going to give the Bulls a lot of trouble in the interior. But, good news for UB fans: They have struggled against their three top-130 opponents. One of those losses comes from a less than stellar East Carolina team.

When they play Buffalo: 1/25 (home)

5. Central Michigan (7-3)

You simply can’t count out a Sue Guevara team. Don’t let them being 5th fool you, this is still a really good team and UB will have their hands full. The Chippewas have four players averaging double figures and will stop at nothing to push the tempo. Tinara Moore and Jewel Cotton are going to be tough to handle and sophomore phenom Presley Hudson is going to be one of the biggest challenges for Stephanie Reid to guard.

When they play Buffalo: 1/7 (away) and 1/21 (home)

Tier 2: They might compete, they might burn out

6. Western Michigan (7-2)

Shane Clipfell brings a WMU team that has a lot of capable scorers to the table. With only one senior making a large impact to the team, the Broncos are a lot like Buffalo and Toledo but to a lesser extent in terms of bench depth. Like CMU, they try to push the tempo when they can.

Led by Marley Hill’s 16.7 points per game, one thing stands in their way of being ranked higher: their schedule. Despite two quality losses to really good teams in Michigan and Michigan State, the Broncos’ wins are against really bad opponents.

7. Eastern Michigan (3-5)

EMU is a tough team to gauge in Fred Castro’s first year as head coach. The Eagles have shown they can beat opponents of the same quality of the top-half in the MAC with their win versus St. Bonaventure, but they also have a ton of bad losses to their name thus far. Keep an eye on the Eagles.

8. Akron Zips (4-2)

Their only two losses are against top-100 opponents, but none of their wins are against anybody worth mentioning at this point in time. Akron is my sleeper pick for the MAC this year because as long as they have Hannah Plybon they can contend. But, what really hurts them is losing Lilli Piper in the offseason to Ohio State. For those that don’t know, Piper — a two-sport athlete at Akron — almost lead the Zips past Buffalo in the MAC Semi-finals last year as a freshman, throwing down a dominant 24 points.

Tier 3: The bottom feeders

9. Northern Illinois Huskies (5-3)

Don’t let their 5-3 record fool you. They’ve played an awful schedule and have lost to a mediocre Iowa State team, an overrated Drake team, and Western Illinois. The Huskies are the class of the bottom feeders, but they’re really going to have to make noise early in MAC play for anyone to take them seriously.

10. Bowling Green Falcons (2-6)

Another year of Jennifer Roos as head coach has only meant one thing for the once perennial mid-major power: a continued downward spiral into mediocrity. If Bowling Green competes in the MAC, I’ll be surely surprised.

11. Kent State (6-4)

Again, do not let this record fool you. Kent State’s only semi-quality win is to a highly overrated Florida Gulf Coast team. Their losses to Robert Morris and Detroit are downright unacceptable if they want to compete in the MAC. To put it in persepective, Robert Morris was picked right next to Sacred Heart in the NEC—a team UB thrashed.

12. Miami (OH) RedHawks (2-6)

Hands down the worst team in the MAC. The RedHawks only have two wins against mediocre teams and are riding a six game losing streak to mediocre teams.