Let's start with what we do know:
No MAC West team, except the divisional winner, has a chance to finish higher than seventh. In the East, every team, except Ohio, could finish between first and sixth in the conference.
With that in mind, here is an update on the race for first...
Bowling Green (10-4) -- Leads the division per its sweep over Buffalo. Has games left at Miami and vs. Ohio. It's likely they'll split and ride their favorable tiebreaker outlook.
Predicted finish: 11-5.
Buffalo (10-4) -- Free-falling Bulls might have regained momentum by winning at Ohio. Have games left at Kent State and vs. Miami. The way Buffalo has played lately, it will be lucky to split.
Predicted finish: 10-6.
Akron (9-5) -- The Zips are acting their age. This team is less predictable than any Akron team in the
Keith Dambrot era. The offense is inconsistent. The defense is not wholly trustworthy. The road performances are often pleasantly surprising. The home games can be a crapshoot. With two games to play and no detrimental head-to-head tiebreakers, Akron is as alive as any for the regular season title.
Predicted finish: 11-5.
Miami (9-5) --
Michael Bramos dropped 34 points in Miami's win over Kent State on Sunday. The experienced RedHawks will get a chance to directly improve their position this week with games vs. Bowling Green and at Buffalo. Two wins would put
Charlie Coles in first place, with a direct tiebreaker over Bowling Green.
Predicted finish: 11-5
Kent State (8-6) -- The Flashes' eight-game winning streak has turned into a two-game slide. With two home games (Buffalo and Akron), the Flashes are in great position to sweep back into the forefront.
Predicted finish: 9-7
It is a little too premature to look at the tiebreaker scenarios, but what the heck.
Here are teams with individual tiebreakers:
Bowling Green -- over Buffalo; potentially over Ohio Buffalo -- over Ohio; potentially over Miami, Kent State Akron -- none; potentially over Kent State Miami -- over Kent State; potentially over Bowling Green Ohio -- over Miami; potentially over Akron
As I mentioned Sunday, the second tiebreaker is your record against the best teams in the conference, in descending order.
So if Buffalo and Akron are tied for first, the tiebreaker is how they fared against the second place team (or teams). Every MAC East team, including Ohio, could possess the league's second-best record, and therefore, even Ohio might serve as a tiebreaker litmus test.
Using this tiebreaker, the teams who lost to MAC West foes have an advantage, because they would have lost fewer games to the MAC East to achieve their records. Thus, they would have a better record against the higher-ranked teams of the East.
Record against MAC East teams:
Bowling Green -- 5-3 Buffalo -- 5-3 Akron -- 4-4 Miami -- 4-4 Ohio -- 4-4 Kent State -- 2-6
Therefore, Bowling Green has great position by virtue of its direct tiebreaker over the other first place team, and no team currently holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Falcons. Also, the Falcons' success over MAC East foes would assist them if it came down to a second tiebreaker.
This is going to be an exciting way to ring in March Madness. There are no elite teams in this conference, but it will still be a thrilling finish to the regular season.
Here are the games this week:
Thursday -- Ohio @ Akron; Buffalo @ Kent State; Bowling Green @ Miami Sunday -- Miami @ Buffalo; Ohio @ Bowling Green; Akron @ Kent State