The Mid-American Conference preseason coaches poll was released Thursday, and the Chippewas are expected to repeat as the West Division champs.
CMU went 7-9 in the conference last season despite a 7-9 record. It was a porous showing from the division, which arguably was the worst in D-I basketball. But with the return of both Chris Kellermann and Marko Spica, the Chippewas are a solid pick to at least have a winning record this season.
However, no one thinks the Chippewas have a shot at winning the MAC Tournament. Only one team from the West -- NIU (1 vote) -- was given any shot of getting past Akron (19 votes), which received a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost to Gonzaga after winning the MAC Tournament in Cleveland.
In the East, it's not surprising defending MAC champion Akron is expected to take it over Kent State, especially with the return of 13 players, including junior forward Brett McKnight (11.2 ppg).
MAC Preseason Media Poll
1. Akron – 190 points (19)
2. Kent State – 108 points (3)
3. Buffalo – 97 points (1)
4. Miami -- 78 points
5. Bowling Green – 54 points (1)
6. Ohio – 32 points
1. Central Michigan – 113 points (10)
2. Northern Illinois – 102 points (4)
3. Eastern Michigan – 94 points (3)
4. Ball State – 87 points (3)
5. Western Michigan – 79 points (4)
6. Toledo – 29 points
(First place votes in parentheses)
Tournament Winner (votes): Akron (19), Buffalo (2), Northern Illinois (1), Kent State (1), Bowling Green (1)
Preseason All-MAC Teams
Kenny Hayes, G, Miami
Brett McKnight, F, Akron
Rodney Pierce, G, Buffalo
Chris Singletary, G, Kent State
Anthony “Humpty” Hitches, G, Akron
David Kool, G, Western Michigan
Jarrod Jones, F/C, Ball State
Brandon Bowdry, F, Eastern Michigan
Darion “Jake” Anderson, G, Northern Illinois
Carlos Medlock, G, Eastern Michigan