| ||Sunday, October 31|
|Come on, Kent and Akron as the two best teams?
It's true. And no one should be surprised. The Mid-American Conference has consistently been one of the most balanced conferences in the nation. The beauty in its parity is programs replace each other on top of the conference.
Eastern Michigan once ruled the league. So, too, did Ball State. They both took a step aside for Ohio and Miami of Ohio. Now, it's Kent and Akron, along with Bowling Green, Marshall and Toledo, as the teams that bear watching.
The MAC doesn't have a Wally Szczerbiak this season but the league is still rich with scoring guards and small forwards. And, at least one, possibly two teams, will shock a top 25 team in November or December.All-conference team
Jami Bosley, senior, G, Akron, 18.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Duane Clemens, senior, G, Ball State, 16.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg
T.J. Lux, senior, C/F, Northern Illinois, Redshirt in 1998-99
Greg Stempin, junior, F, Toledo, 15.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Anthony Stacey, senior, F, Bowling Green, 18.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg Player of the year: Jami Bosley
Bosley averaged 18.6 points a game last season and is the toughest guard to defend in the MAC. He's the league's best 3-point threat, shooting 41.8 percent. His leadership should lead Akron to the East Division title and a showdown with Toledo or Kent in the conference tournament. All-newcomer team
Cory Ryan, freshman, G, Bowling Green
Brandon Pardon, sophomore, G, Bowling Green
Mosi Barnes, junior, G, Eastern Michigan
Steven Jones, junior, G, Northern Illinois
Taylor Bro, freshman, F, Western Michigan Newcomer of the year: Brandon Pardon
Brandon Pardon becomes eligible Dec. 18 and should have an immediate impact. The junior college transfer will give the Falcons the necessary scoring pop. Bowling Green was a player or two away from making the postseason -- Pardon gives the Falcons the necessary depth along the perimeter. Best backcourt: Akron
The Zips tandem of Jami Bosley and Jimmal Ball averaged 32.8 points a game last season. They led Akron in scoring 21 out of 27 games. Best frontcourt: Kent
The Flashes can take a team in the low-post with John Whorton or to the wing with small forward Kyrem Massey. Whorton might be the league's lone true post player. Team on the rise: Marshall
The Herd registered 16 wins last season. With four starters back, Marshall has a chance for an NIT bid. Team on the fall: Miami (Ohio)
Losing Wally Szczerbiak isn't the only blemish. Damon Frierson was just as important in the backcourt. The RedHawks can still be a pest in the league but they won't be in the postseason. Unsung player: Greg Stempin, Toledo
Stempin was the unheralded leader of the Rockets last season. He averaged 15 points a game and was one of the nation's top sleepers. He'll have to be more of a focal point this season. Toughest road game: Toledo
The Rockets beat Xavier and Ohio State at home last season. Stan Joplin has Toledo's Savage Hall rocking. Postseason teams
NCAA: Kent, Akron