Mid-American Conference (conference rank: 14th)
March 6, 9-11
First round at higher seed, remaining rounds at Cleveland.
kPOY: Isaiah Johnson, Akron.
Regular season champ: Akron (preseason #90 / 2nd MAC, current #114)
Overachiever: Kent State (preseason #210, current #146)
Underachiever: Central Michigan (preseason #149, current #233)

The MAC seems to consistently produce a wide-open tournament especially now that they’ve switched to a conventional bracket. The top eight teams rank between #104 and #174 and all have a realistic shot of cutting down the nets at the Q.

The tight competition led to some compressed league standings. Akron won the conference with a 14-4, but there were four teams tied for second with seven losses. Ohio won the tiebreaker for the two-seed and they won the heart of my computer, though at around 22%, the Bobcats appear to be the weakest favorite of the 32 tournaments this year.

The thing is, the difference between Ohio’s chances and top-seeded Akron’s are not significant in any meaningful way. The numbers after the decimal point in all of these forecasts are largely superfluous. They exist to allow me to rank teams. And even the first number before the decimal point isn’t all that meaningful when comparing two teams where the overall number is big. We can never truly know who the favorite is in these events. And the 2017 MAC tournament only gets played once, so its result won’t be proof of anything, really. All we can do is accept the result as one random event in a world full of them.

Still, credit to Ohio. The Bobcats are ranked exactly where they started the season. And had my computer known they would lose Antonio Campbell, the reigning MAC player of the year, early in the fourth conference game of the season, it would not have been so optimistic. The mere fact they are a contender here is a victory in itself.

                      Qtrs Semis Final Champ
 2 Ohio                100  62.6  37.9  22.2
 1 Akron               100  61.2  39.4  21.8
 3 Buffalo             100  60.4  28.3  14.8
 7 Toledo             82.3  33.9  17.3   8.7
 5 Western Michigan   85.4  46.0  19.7   8.6
 8 Eastern Michigan   75.8  31.8  17.9   8.3
 4 Ball St.            100  50.2  19.4   7.5
 6 Kent St.           79.1  34.3  14.1   6.5
 9 Northern Illinois  24.2   7.0   2.9   0.9
11 Central Michigan   20.9   5.3   1.3   0.4
10 Bowling Green      17.7   3.5   1.0   0.3
12 Miami OH           14.6   3.8   0.7   0.1