An outlook at potential MAC Tournament seedings for every school

<p>The Cardinals cheer for their team at the home game in John E. Worthen Arena Feb. 23 against the Broncos. Ball State lost 80-87. <strong>Rebecca Slezak, DN</strong></p>

The Cardinals cheer for their team at the home game in John E. Worthen Arena Feb. 23 against the Broncos. Ball State lost 80-87. Rebecca Slezak, DN

MAC tie-breaker procedure

Between two teams:

1) Head-to-head comepeition
2) Division record
3) Winning % vs. ranked conference teams
4) Coin flip

Between multiple teams:

5) Total win-loss record/winning percentage between teams
6) Two-team tie-breaker goes into effect (go back to step 1)

*Longer instructions can be found on the Mid-American Conference website here.

The Mid-American Conference, like the rest of Division l men's college basketball, has had a season that can be summed up with one word — unpredictable.

With one game remaining in the season, only two schools in the MAC know where they're going to be seeded in the conference tournament. The rest of the field? That's another story.

Here's a rundown of the implications that the last game of the season has on the six teams vying for an automatic quarterfinal bid — awarded to the top four teams — and trip to Cleveland, Ohio.


No. 1 seed – Buffalo (22-8, 14-3 MAC)
Plays Bowling Green in final game

Reason: The Bulls, while just a game up in first in the current standings, have the No. 1 seed and likely the MAC regular season championship locked up. Even if Toledo wins its final game of the season against Eastern Michigan and Buffalo loses, the Bulls hold the head-to-head tie-breaker with a win over the Rockets on Jan. 2.

No. 2 seed – Toledo (21-9, 13-4 MAC)
Plays Eastern Michigan in final game

Reason: Trying not to sound redundant here, but even a win here for Toledo won't matter as it lost the head-to-head matchup against Buffalo. Still, the Rockets locked up the MAC West regular season championship, as it holds a three game lead in front of both Eastern Michigan and Ball State.

Win and in

No. 3-5 seed – Eastern Michigan (19-11, 10-7 MAC)
Plays Toledo in final game

Reason: Bottom line, if Eastern Michigan wins, it's sitting pretty at the No. 3 seed in the tournament. A loss, however, would implement several tie-breakers including head-to-head record, division record and a coin flip. The only head-to-head advantage Eastern Michigan holds is against Kent State (1-0), making a drop to the No. 5 seed possible.

No. 3-6 seed – Ball State (19-11, 10-7 MAC)
Plays Northern Illinois in final game

Reason: A win against Northern Illinois guarantees a top four spot and quarterfinals appearance for Ball State in Cleveland. A loss, however, puts them in dangerous territory if Kent State and Western Michigan win, since each of them hold a 6-4 division tie-break advantage.

Bubble teams

No. 4-7 seed – Kent State (15-15, 9-8 MAC)
Plays Akron in final game

Reason: There's no real scenario that puts Kent State ahead of Eastern Michigan due to the Golden Flashes loss to the Eagles this season, making a favorable three-or-more-way tie nearly impossible. Still, a victory against Akron and a Ball State loss can push Kent State into the No. 4 seed regardless of what happens to Western Michigan, due to the team's head-to-head tie-breaker.

No. 3-6 seed – Western Michigan (17-13, 9-8 MAC)
Plays Central Michigan in final game

Reason: A Western Michigan win in the final game of the season makes things pretty interesting for the Broncos. Western Michigan could end up as high as the No. 3 seed if Eastern Michigan, Ball State and Kent State all lose in the final game of the season due to overall win-loss total the Broncos hold over each of those teams. Even if Kent State wins, there's an outside chance that Western Michigan can come out on top in a four-way tie.

Secured home court

No. 6-7 seed – Miami (15-15, 8-9 MAC)
Plays Ohio in final game

Reason: No matter which way you slice it, Miami won't surpass Western Michigan, making jumping Kent State its only option, which would come down to a coin flip. Still, Miami knows it will be playing at home since Bowling Green's 3-6 division record is too low to catch up at this point.

Playing for home court

No. 8-9 seed – Bowling Green (16-14, 7-10 MAC)
Plays Buffalo in final game

Reason: Bowling Green can't move up from its current position at eighth in the conference, but it can secure a first round home game with a victory. A loss, paired with a pair of Central Michigan and Ohio victories, can slide the Falcons right out of first round home court contention.

No. 8-11 seed – Central Michigan (17-13, 6-11 MAC)
Plays Western Michigan in final game

Reason: Central Michigan is on the outside looking in, relying on a Bowling Green loss to play at home in the first round of the MAC Tournament. A loss, however, can push the Falcons all the way down to the No. 11 seed due to tie-breakers against the lower half of the conference.

No. 8-11 seed – Ohio (13-16, 6-11 MAC)
Plays Miami in final game

Reason: It's a long shot, but an Ohio win paired with a Bowling Green and Central Michigan loss can propel the Bobcats all the way into a No. 8 seed in the tournament. A loss, however, can push them down to second to last place in the conference, barring a potential head-to-head coin flip decision with Akron.

Playing for seeding

No. 9-12 seed Akron (12-17, 5-12 MAC)
Plays Kent State in final game

Reason: A win combined with Central Michigan and Ohio losses can put Akron in a three-way tie-breaker where the Zips would find themselves on top. Sitting at No. 11, they still can drop another spot with a loss and a Northern Illinois win.

No. 11-12 – Northern Illinois (12-18, 5-12 MAC)
Plays Ball State in final game

Reason: Northern Illinois only chance of moving up a spot is winning and Akron losing since it loses every conceivable tie-breaker against Central Michigan, Ohio and Akron.

Contact Robby General at or on Twitter @rgeneraljr.


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