More on the MAC: Ohio gets another good one; NIU gets a good one back

Carter vs Toledo (1)
Kent State guard Megan Carter in action at Toledo last season. Flashes beat the Rockets in Toledo. Toledo has lost only nine games at home in the last two season, three of them to Kent State. 
A Toledo fan with the handle “Dwight” posted a comment on the Flash Fanatics bulletin board that added some good information to my post on the MAC schedule earlier this week.
(I usually post a summary of the blog on the bulletin board with a link to here.)
Dwight obviously had read the full blog post, which had a lot more detail than I posted on the board. Here’s what he had to say (with some of my thoughts in italic:
Thanks for all of the great information on your blog. One small correction regarding your blog post. If memory serves, Central Michigan lost its first-round NCAA game in a nail-biter to Michigan State.

He’s right, of course. It was two years ago Central won two NCAA games and made it to the Sweet 16.

You mentioned that Ohio has its top four starters back. In addition, the Bobcats have the services of Caitlyn Kroll, who averaged 13.4 ppg and was voted newcomer of the year in the Northeast Conference in her freshman year at St. Francis (Pa.) before transferring to Ohio and sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules.

As a Toledo fan, I hope you’re right about the Rockets being able to contend with the top teams in the conference. However, the Rockets lost three starters to graduation, including their best player. A repeat of last year’s six seed in the conference tournament should probably be considered a success. Toledo still has a good reputation from its success in Coach Cullop’s early years, but the last time the Rockets were better than 12-6 in the conference was 2012-13.
Toledo did graduate Kayla McIntyre, the 6-2 center who was second-team all-MAC, and guard Mikaela Boyd, who was honorable mention all-league. The Rockers do have back three players who started at least 11 games, including their second leading scorer. But Dwight obviously knows a lot more about Toledo than I do. It would be most unusual, though, if the Rockets didn’t have a solid team.

In addition to having four starters back, Northern Illinois will have Courtney Woods, who returns for a redshirt senior year after undergoing knee surgery early last season. Woods averaged 22 ppg and 8 rpg during her junior season.

I had forgotten Woods is back. She’s a very good player. Her return moves my opinion of NIU up a couple of notches.

I think Central Michigan will be only average this season. Last year the Chips rode the backs of two amazing players, both of whom are gone. I don’t see a lot of talent on that roster, although I have no idea what new players are coming in this year. 

No team can graduate all-MAC players like Presley Hudson and Reyna Frost and not suffer. Junior guard Michaela Kelly is back, and she impressed me a lot last year. The Chippewas’ freshman class looks good, and the program is always strong. They certainly won’t be a favorite, but I’ll be surprised if they’re not good.

My thoughts on the league outlook were almost throwaway comments on a post on Kent State’s schedule.  I’ve glanced at the league’s rosters but obviously don’t know them as well as Dwight from Toledo.
I’m sure we’ll talk a lot more about the MAC when we see the teams on the court.

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