Kent State senior Megan Carter is a preseason all–MAC East selection, and the Kent State women’s basketball team has been picked to finish third in the division.
The preseason poll and all-MAC teams, voted on by the league’s 12 coaches, was announced Wednesday.
Ohio, which returns four starters from a team that went 30-6 last season, was picked to win the East, the overall MAC championship and the conference tournament.
The East Division predictions, with vote totals.
- Ohio 72 (unanimous selection).
- Buffalo 56.
- Kent State 50.
- Miami 32.
- Akron 28.
- Bowling Green 14.
Defending champion Central Michigan was picked to win the West Division, despite the fact that it lost two all conferences players in guard Presley Hudson and Reyna Frost. The full west predictions, with vote totals and first-place votes in parenthesis:
- Central Michigan 60 (4 first-place votes).
- Northern Illinois 59 (4).
- Toledo 50 (2).
- Eastern Michigan 35 (1).
- Ball State 30 (1)
- Western Michigan 18.
The All-MAC East team (alphabetical order):
- Megan Carter, redshirt senior guard, Kent State.
- Lauren Dickerson, senior guard, Miami.
- Summer Hemphill, senior forward, Buffalo.
- CeCe Hooks, junior guard, Ohio.
- Erica Johnson, redshirt sophomore forward, Ohio.
The All-West team:
- Nakiah Black, junior guard, Toledo.
- Oshlynn Brown, junior forward, Ball State.
- Corrione Cardwell, redshirt junior guard, Eastern Michigan.
- Micaela Kelly, junior guard, Central Michigan.
- Breanna Mobley, redshirt senior forward, Western Michigan.
- Courtney Woods, redshirt senior wing, Northern Illinois.
The team has six players because of a tie vote.
Analysis: After Ohio, who knows?
The Bobcats are loaded and were the certain choice as favorite.
After that, it’s really anybody’s guess.
- Buffalo lost a great senior class but had a deep team and has added a good freshman class.
- Kent State has 83 percent of its scoring back, plus three good freshmen. The Flashes lost to Ohio twice last season by just two points.
- Miami has a new coach but two outstanding players as a nucleus (Lauren Dickerson and senior forward Savannah Kluesner, who may be the best player not on the preseason teams).
- Central Michigan lost an awful lot but it always deep and recruits well. Kelly was the Chippewas’ third best player and probably would have been the best on about eight other teams.
- Northern Illinois, which was only one point behind Central, has four 2018-19 starters back plus Courtney Woods. She was a first-team all-MAC player who missed most of last season with an injury.
- Ball State also has a lot of players back from injuries and a good freshman class. I suspect they’re underrated.
- Toledo is always good but lost some key players.
Among those teams, almost nothing would surprise me — except Ohio not being one of the best teams in the league.
And of course teams can come out of nowhere. Kent State did in 2015-16, winning the East after being picked last. Miami did the same thing a year later.