The Mid-American Conference has six teams in the top 100 in this week’s RPI rankings by the NCAA. I can’t imagine that’s ever happened before.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Central Michigan (11-3, 2-0 MAC) 21st.
- Buffalo (9-4, 1-1) 47th.
- Ohio (12-1, 1-1) 58th.
- Toledo (9-4, 1-1) 89th.
- Northern Illinois (9-5, 1-1) 92nd.
- Kent State (9-4, 2-0) 96th
- Miami (10-3, 1-1) 116th.
- Akron (10-3, 1-1) 165th.
- Ball State (5-8, 1-1) 195th.
- Bowling Green (7-6, 0-2), 203rd.
- Eastern Michigan (7-6, 0-2), 217th.
- Western Michigan (7-6, 1-1), 292nd.
The NCAA lists 351 Division I teams. (I’ve seen as many as 353 on other sites, which seems strange.)
As a league, the MAC’s RPI ranks eighth in the country, according to WarrenNolan.com. (The NCAA itself doesn’t rank conference.) The MAC is significantly behind the seventh-ranked West Coast Conference, which includes BYU and Gonzaga). It has a solid lead over the No. 9 American Athletic Conference, which includes No. 3 Connecticut and the University of South Florida.
Last year the MAC also ranked eighth in the country in RPI, the best showing in league history. Central Michigan and Buffalo both reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, the first time two teams from a mid-major conference had ever done that. The year before the conference was 10th of 32 Division I leagues. To show how the MAC has improved, it was 18th in 2012-13.
MAC teams’ RPIs may well go up through the conference season because they’re based on a a team’s record, its opponents’ record and opponents’ opponents record. Road wins and home losses get extra weight.
Because 11 of 12 MAC teams had winning non-conference seasons, ratings may rise as they play each other. For the same reason, the conference ranking is unlikely to change as the season goes on.