2009-10 Conference Primers: #19 – MAC

Posted by nvr1983 on October 18th, 2009


Rush the Court currently does not have a correspondent from the MAC so if you would like to represent the conference and educate the rest of us, please e-mail us at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Predicted Order of Finish:


  1. Akron (12-4)
  2. Buffalo (11-5)
  3. Kent State (10-6)
  4. Bowling Green (9-7)
  5. Miami (OH) (8-8)
  6. Ohio (7-9)


  1. Ball State (8-8)
  2. Northern Illinois (7-9)
  3. Eastern Michigan (7-9)
  4. Central Michigan (6-10)
  5. Toledo (6-10)
  6. Western Michigan (5-11)

All-Conference Team:

  • David Kool (G), Sr, Western Michigan
  • Darion Anderson (G), Jr, Northern Illinois
  • Jarrod Jones (F), So, Ball State
  • Brandon Bowdry (F), Jr, Eastern Michigan
  • Zeke Marshall (C), Fr, Akron

6th Man. Brett McKnight (F), Jr, Akron

Impact Newcomer. Zeke Marshall (C), Fr, Akron

mac logo

What You Need to Know. To begin with this is the MAC not the MAAC. Sienadoesn’t play in this conference so if you came here expecting to see a preview for them you are in the wrong place (at least for a few days). This conference, the MAC, is ridiculously unbalanced. While none of the the teams in the MAC would be considered contenders for a national title there are four good teams in the East that might actually pique some interest when they played a decent BCS school as an “Upset Alert.” There isn’t a single team in the West you could say that about even if they were playing a cellar-dweller in any of the BCS conferences. In fact, last year the last-place team in the East (Ohio) would have been tied for first in the West. The winner of the automatic bid will almost definitely come from the East with Akron and Buffalo being the top contenders. The edge may go to the Zips who lose less of their championship team from last year (only Nate Linhart) and add a 7’0″ center in the middle with Zeke Marshall while the Bulls will not have Greg Gamble and Andy Robinson this year.

Predicted Champion.  Akron Zips (NCAA Seed: #13). Coming off a 20-win season and the MAC title/NCAA bid the Zips are loaded by MAC standards. The only significant player they lose is Linhart (the MAC tournament MVP), but the Zips should have more than enough to stay up at the top of the MAC with the McKnight brothers (Chris and Brett) leading the way. Even though Brett came off the bench last year, he still led the team in scoring and figures to do so again although I’m not sure if he will stay on the bench with Linhart’s departure. With the McKnights and Marshall controlling the inside, Daryl Roberts and his 39.6% from beyond the arc should get his fair share of quality looks. With so much returning talent, the key for the Zips will be how quickly Marshall adapts to the college game. Marshall, who FoxSports.com rated as the #13 impact freshman this upcoming season, could give the Zips something the MAC hasn’t seen in a long-time–a legitimate seven-foot center. His presence, even if tips the scales at a relatively svelte 218 lbs, could be just the boost that the Zips need to repeat in the MAC and scare some big-name school in the 1st round.

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More Intrigue at Maryland

Posted by nvr1983 on February 5th, 2009

Last week, I discussed the struggles of Gary Williams and the Maryland Terrapins. Since that time several pundits have suggested reasons for Maryland’s recent struggles (loss of one of his assistants/head recruiter, etc.). Several sites have already started speculating about his potential replacement. My personal favorite was rtmsf’s suggestion of Bob Knight (scroll down to the brief UNC-Maryland recap), which I have not heard anywhere else.

Rough Day at the Office (BaltimoreSun.com)
Rough Day at the Office (BaltimoreSun.com)

Now, just as last week’s controversy surrounding Maryland’s inability to close on recruits Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans was starting to die down and Maryland AD Debbie Yow stated that the athletic department supported Williams, a new interview by Ryan Corazza with Evans has come out that gives us some insight into his decision not to go to Maryland.

It just felt like it wasn’t the place to be. I love the coaches there, even when I see them I talk to them. I call them and see how they’re doing, see how the season’s going. . . They believed in me as a player, and as a person. . . It wasn’t a place for me where I could call home. There were some people who believed in me and there were some people that didn’t believe in me. I just backed out because of my sake. I just felt like that wasn’t the place for me, a place I could call home.

So he loved the coaches there (who believed in him), but felt that there were others there who did not believe in him. I wonder who he could be referring to at Maryland. . .While Evans doesn’t come out and explicitly blame the athletic department, it seems pretty clear that their actions are what turned him off from Maryland. Perhaps it was something similar for Gilchrist as well. It will be interesting to see if Williams or anybody from the Maryland athletic department issues a comment on this.

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Trouble in College Park

Posted by nvr1983 on January 28th, 2009

Since winning the NCAA title in 2002 (in the ugliest title game I have ever seen at any level), Maryland basketball has fallen on hard times. Since that win, the Terrapins have made the NCAA tournament just 3 times in 6 years and have only advanced to the Sweet 16 once in that period. As you can see from the graphic below, the Terrapins have been a pretty mediocre ACC team since 2002.

Maryland's record since 2000-01
Maryland’s record since 2000-01

During that stretch, Gary Williams‘s teams have a combined record of 136-79 (63%) overall and 53-49 (52%) in the ACC. While they have had their bright spots (knocking a freshman Stephen Curry out of his first NCAA tournament), it seems like the Terrapins have had more than their fair share of bad moments in the past year.

Terrapin fans and the local media have already started to question Gary Williams. After the massacre at Cameron, I began to wonder how long Williams had to right the ship at Maryland (and rtmsf mentioned it in this morning’s ATB). The program is no longer even considered among the upper echelon in the ACC and Williams has been widely criticized for his inability to recruit top players to Maryland. The last class that Maryland had that was even was in Rivals.com’s Top 30 was back in 2006 (#19 that year). To be fair to Williams, he never really landed top recruiting classes (exception: 2003, the year after they won the national title, when they landed the #3 class, which unfortunately never panned out), but still managed to have great teams with Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, and Lonnie Baxter.

To make matters worse, the Terrapin players don’t even seem to go to class or at least not enough to graduate. (Note: This isn’t something new. It has been going on for a while at Maryland.)

Williams has been able to weather all these storms, but the latest news about his public disagreements with the Maryland administration regarding his inability to close on Gilchrist and Evans may just be the tipping point and provide the impetus needed for his opponents in the Maryland administration to get him off the sideline.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This leaves us with the question: How long do Maryland fans have to wait before calling for Williams’s head (figuratively please)? Bill Simmons says fans should give their teams a 5-year grace period. Unfortunately for Gary, that period ended with the loss in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament in 2007 and Maryland fans are not always the most supportive of their own team. With this latest fiasco, which unfortunately for Gary involved the Maryland administration, it may just be a matter of time before the most successful coach in Terrapins’ basketball history is sent packing from College Park.

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Checking in on the… MAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 13th, 2009

Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the MAC and OVC Conferences.

MAC Standings as of January 12:


  1. Miami (OH)     1-0     8-5
  2. Bowling Green     1-0     8-6
  3. Ohio     1-0     8-6
  4. Buffalo     0-1     8-5
  5. Akron     0-1     8-6
  6. Kent State     0-1     7-8


  1. Ball State     1-0     6-7
  2. Northern Illinois     1-0     5-8
  3. Western Michigan     1-0     4-10
  4. Central Michigan     0-1     3-10
  5. Eastern Michigan     0-1     2-13
  6. Toledo     0-1     2-13

Since we’ve last talked, the MAC has officially tipped off conference play.  But before we dive into that, let’s look back at how the league ended non-conference play.

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Gus Gilchrist At It Again

Posted by rtmsf on June 4th, 2008

Remember Gus Gilchrist?  He’s the 6’9 forward who we took to task last year around this time for backing out of his commitment to Virginia Tech based on the tragic school shootings there last April.  He said that he was “mentally unprepared” to deal with the fallout of that situation, and instead decided to sit out his first year.  We wondered aloud at the time whether Gilchrist wasn’t using his newfound status as a highly-rated recruit to leverage the Va Tech shootings into a better landing spot for himself, and last fall he re-committed to Gary Williams’ Maryland Terrapins, enrolling in January.

Fast forward to the current spring, and Hot Wing Gary’s program appears to be crumbling like the steps of Rome.  Super-juco Tyree Evans backed out of his commitment over the Memorial Day weekend, and Bobby Maze (another recruit) won’t be making it to College Park either.  One of Gary’s expected returnees, freshman forward Shane Walker, already transferred out of the program in April.  The rats appear to be jumping ship, and despite “Once I commit to something, I’m committed,” (yeah!  irony!) Gilchrist has proven that he’s not one to hang around in the face of adversity.  From the Baltimore Sun:

Gus Gilchrist, a talented 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who was expected to play a major role next season, asked for his release so he could possibly play immediately at another school outside the Atlantic Coast Conference. Because of ACC rules, Gilchrist had to sit out the first semester of games because he had initially signed to play at Virginia Tech.  “Gus has asked for a release to explore other options which may allow him to play more games at another university outside the ACC, pending an NCAA waiver,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said in a prepared statement released by the university.

Once again with Gilchrist, rumors are surfacing that West Virginia is a possible destination.  Joe Alexander appears to be headed to the L, and Gilchrist would likely be eligible to play right away.  That is, until Gilchrist decides that he finds mountaineers distasteful and he wants to play somewhere else after the first semester.  Next stop – back to Virginia Tech (it’s safe there now)!    

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