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2005-06 MAC Basketball Preview
It’s not a knock on the MAC West that they’re often considered the Mid-American Conference’s afterthought. The top five teams in the East are experienced powerhouses. In the West there’s experience, but it’s sprinkled throughout the teams with promising new guys, and athletic “upside” players.
If the MAC East is experience, then the MAC West is the future. There are a lot of underclassmen in this division who could turn into decent, solid, and even spectacular players by their fourth year. None of the teams in the West are as deep as the teams in the East, but then again the young talent that exists in this conference is definitely concentrated in the West.
If the MAC has proven anything over the past several years, it’s that winning on the road can be a tough feat. Most of the teams out West may not have quite enough experience or solid backcourt play this season to challenge for postseason play, but I would guess that they will in another year. In the meantime, maybe a team like Toledo, Northern Illinois, or Ball State rises to the top and gives whoever comes out of the East fits in the tournament. But for teams like Western, Central, and Eastern Michigan it’s going to be about getting their young players experience, and evaluating the untested talent that resides on each of their rosters.
2005 Preseason All-VanDelay West 1st Team
F – John Bowler – Eastern Michigan
2005 Preseason All-VanDelay West 2nd Team
F – Todd Peterson – Northern Illinois
In a word, the East is loaded. In two-words, the East is very loaded.
The MAC East has five of the best six or seven teams in the conference. Any of these five teams could win the conference title without anybody batting an eyelash. This should be good news for the conference, but with the way things go in the MAC it probably means everybody will go 11-7/12-6 in conference, no team will stand-out, and once again the MAC will only get one team into the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio has to be the favorite in the division (and the conference) after winning the Conference Tournament last season, scaring Florida in the 1 st Round of the NCAA Tournament, and returning much of that roster in tact. Bowling Green has to be the pick for last in this conference after seeing more talent transfer out in the past 2 years than most junior colleges.
Teams two through five? Well, you could probably pick Akron, Buffalo, Kent State, and Miami out of a hat and be about as accurate as anybody who makes a living covering college basketball. It’s cliché, but the only thing that you can predict about those four teams is that they’re unpredictable. While one of those teams could take off, or one could self destruct, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the top 5 teams in the East all finish within 1 or 2 games of each other this March.
2005 Preseason All-VanDelay East 1st Team
F - Romeo Travis - Akron
2005 Preseason All-VanDelay East 2nd Team
F – Darryl Peterson - Akron
By Dan Whitmyer, VanDelaySports.com Writer