Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the MAC.
Like most MAC pre-conference seasons, the majority of the league spent the first two weeks beating up on the Sisters of the Worthless Miracle. But there were some MAC teams that took the time to play the big boys with mixed results.
- As always, Miami’s schedule is murderer’s row. The Redhawks first six games are on the road, including the 2K Coaches v Cancer Classic at UCLA. Miami gave the #4 ranked Bruins all they could handle before falling 64-59. Michael Bramos (MAC Player of the Year candidate) scored 22 points to surpass the 1000-point mark in his career. The Redhawks left Pauley Pavilion feeling pretty good about themselves after the near-upset. Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last long. Just four days later, the Redhawks were humbled at #6 Pitt 82-53. Bramos had just two points in this loss. Miami was within three early in the second half before the much more physical Panthers just took over. The gauntlet continues for Miami the next two weeks. Road games at Wright State, Xavier and Temple loom. This early season schedule should, without question, have the Redhawks ready to compete in the MAC.
- Western Michigan is supposed to challenge in the MAC West. The Broncos’ first three games this year were minor disappointments. They lost to TCU by four, Hofstra by three in OT and then handed SIU-Edwardsville their first-ever division one victory by 11. Not the start the Broncs were hoping for. A silver-lining was David Kool. He averaged over 24 points in those three losses. But it’s obvious, he’s going to need help if WMU is going to be a serious MAC title contender. They did fare better with a 13-point win over Detroit. Road games at talented Sam Houston State and VCU the next two weeks will tell us a lot about this team.
- Eastern Michigan suffered a serious setback before the season even started. Senior point guard and pre-season All-MAC performer Carlos Medlock was lost for the season with a broken foot. It’s the same foot he broke during the 2006-07 season. He’ll apply for a medical hardship, but that won’t help the Eagles this year. EMU had high hopes for their first winning season in a long time. Medlock’s departure could hurt those chances. His absence was felt in their blowout loss to Purdue where the EMU point guards combined for 13 turnovers. Eastern would never had beaten Purdue with Medlock, but he certainly was missed. EMU did bounce back nicely with a near upset of Georgia, losing 61-60 after leading by double-digits in the second half. Not sure what this says about Georgia, but it’s certainly a confidence boost for EMU.
- Toledo’s dance with the big boys was anything but memorable. The Rockets were rocked by Florida 80-58 and stomped by Xavier 81-65. Good news, Tyrone Kent smoked the Muskies for 37 in the loss.
- Northern Illinois is supposed to bring up the rear again this year in the MAC. But a sign of life was found in a win over Missouri Valley foe Indiana State. The Sycamores ain’t exactly SIU or Creighton, but it’s still a nice win for Ricardo Patton’s club.
- Ohio, as expected, easliy won their opener over William & Mary. Jerome Tillman picked up where he left off last year notching his sixth straight double-double. Tillman is a serious Player of The Year candidate in the MAC.
- Kent, a favorite in the MAC East with Ohio and Miami, is 2-0 under new head coach Geno Ford. They picked up an impressive road win against St. Louis and head coach Rick Majerus 76-74 in overtime. Reigning MAC Player of the Year Al Fisher was tremendous in the win. Fisher tallied 35 points, including 16 of Kent’s 17 overtime points. Oh, and he hit the game-winning layup with less than :02 left. No word on whether he drove the team bus home too.
The MAC has some big games to make a name for themselves the next two weeks, including match-ups with powerhouses like Kansas, Connecticut, Illinois and Marquette. Here are some games to keep an eye on these next two weeks:
- Bowling Green at Ohio State (11/24)
- Kent State at the South Padre Invitational (starting vs. Illinois 11/28)
- Ohio at George Mason 11/29
- Temple at Buffalo 11/29
- Miami at Xavier 11/29
- Kent at Kansas 12/1
- Central Michigan at Marquette 12/2
- Tulsa at Ohio 12/3
- UMass at Toledo 12/3
- Miami at Temple 12/3
- Northern Illinois at Air Force 12/3
- St. Mary’s at Kent 12/4
- Western Michigan at VCU 12/4
- Connecticut at Buffalo 12/4
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