As the Mid-American Conference enters its fifth week of play, teams have showcased how they stack up in the talent-filled division. So far, the conference season has been filled with upsets and close nail-biters, but there are still levels that some programs have reached and others have not.
Here are The Post’s MAC power rankings:
1. Miami (15-4, 6-2)
The RedHawks are the hottest team in the conference. After starting off MAC play 1-2, Miami has won five games in a row, with victories over division leaders Central Michigan and Ohio. Miami is a difficult matchup for any team in the MAC thanks to its size upfront and play of dynamic point guard Lauren Dickerson.
Up next: Feb. 6 vs Eastern Michigan
2. Central Michigan (15-5, 6-2)
The defending MAC champs have dealt with the impact of a tough schedule all season in hopes of taking the program to another level, and it has paid off. Dominant wins over Buffalo and Ohio show that the Chippewas are tough to beat on their best night. But road losses to Miami and Toledo indicate that Central Michigan sometimes plays down to their competition.
Up next: Feb. 6 vs Ball State
3. Ohio (18-2, 7-2)
The Bobcats have been the shock of the season thus far. After starting the season with a 12-game winning streak, Ohio’s shown that despite being young, it's ready to compete with the best in the division. Offensively, the Bobcats can run with anyone but flaws on defense explain the losses to Miami and Central Michigan and the close wins against Kent State and Bowling Green.
Up next: Feb. 6 vs Akron
4. Buffalo (14-5, 6-2)
Buffalo has been overlooked throughout conference play. The Bulls are still in the hunt for the title, but after a home overtime loss to Ohio and a road defeat to Central Michigan, the Bulls need a statement win to cement themselves as a serious contender.
Up next: Feb. 6 vs Toledo
5. Kent State (11-8, 4-4)
The Golden Flashes couldn’t get a break throughout January. Kent State lost in close games to Ohio, Central Michigan and Ball State. All of those losses were under 8 points. Kent State broke a four-game winning streak with a 73-58 win over Akron on Saturday.
Up next: Feb. 6 vs Western Michigan
6.Toledo (13-6, 5-3)
When Miami beat Central Michigan, it was a shock. When Toledo beat the Chippewas, it put the entire conference on notice. Toledo dropped a close back-and-forth game at Akron in overtime, but ended the week with a 20-point win over Bowling Green. Toledo hasn’t been in a bad conference game yet and has shown the ability to be a trap game to anybody at the head of the division.
Up next: Feb. 6 at Buffalo
7. Northern Illinois (12-8, 4-4)
Northern Illinois, much like the entire conference, is random. The Huskies started off MAC play by beating Miami but have been thrashed by the likes of Ohio and Buffalo. The Huskies have shown in the past few weeks that they can handle the lower teams in the division but are no match for the division leaders.
Up next: Feb.6 vs Bowling Green
8. Eastern Michigan (10-9, 3-5)
The Eagles season has had its share of highs and lows. Eastern Michigan has wins over Western Michigan and Akron, and also took Buffalo to overtime. But the Eagles were lit up by Ohio on the road and have lost two straight games.
Up next: Feb 6. at Miami
9. Akron (12-7, 3-5)
The Zips have a big task ahead of them when they travel to Athens this week to face Ohio. Akron has only won one conference road game, and Ohio’s is coming off one of its best performances. The Zips picked up a big overtime win against Toledo, but that’s the closest thing they have to a statement win.
Up next: Feb.6 at Ohio
10. Western Michigan (8-10, 2-5)
The Broncos are near the bottom of the conference with wins over the two worst teams in the MAC. Western Michigan showed early in the season its upset potential when it took Buffalo to the wire, but that has been the highlight of its season.
Up next: Feb.6 at Kent State
11. Ball State (7-13, 2-6)
Ball State is coming off a 94-62 shellacking from Ohio on Saturday. The Cardinals have one of the youngest teams in the MAC this year, and it shows every time they step on to the court. They’re a scrappy team that doesn’t know how to put a string off wins together but has the potential to stay competitive with the lesser teams in the MAC.
Up next: Feb.6 at Central Michigan
12. Bowling Green (7-13, 0-8)
Bowling Green has the worst record in the conference, but it’s misleading. In five of the Falcons’ losses, they were within one possession in the final three minutes. The Falcons are led by a first-year head coach and are the winningest program in conference history. Soon, they will probably shock a team that visits the Stroh Center, but until that day comes, they come in last in this week’s power rankings.
Up next: Feb.6 at Northern Illinois