clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ranking the MAC’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

Buffalo won a game in the NCAAs last March and are expected to build on that this season. But do the Bulls have the best non-league schedule in the MAC?

NCAA Basketball: MAC Conference Tournament Championship-Buffalo vs Toledo Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2018-19 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Graphics and tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

In 2008, Kent State earned a nine seed in the NCAA Tournament. But in the 10 seasons since, a pair of 12s (2013 and 2015) is the conference’s high water mark. However, there’s hope that Buffalo, fresh off knocking off Arizona as a 13 seed in 2018, can escape a double-digit seed this time. There’s even a chance the Bulls could—should things go haywire at the MAC Tournament in Cleveland—earn the MAC’s first at-large bid since 1999.

But looking at the table below, it’s clear that Nate Oats’ squad must have a special season to earn one of the 36 at-large spots in March Madness. The MAC struggled as a whole in 2017-18, as its total of five top 150 teams in the four-year rankings heading into last season has been reduced to just three heading into the new campaign. And that’s with Eastern Michigan barely hanging on at 147. At least Miami improved enough to get out of the bottom 100. Getting more teams into the top 100 is the only way the MAC is going to be able to increase its postseason fortunes in an era when the power conferences dictate more and more of what happens in March.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Buffalo 3.4527105 89 104
Toledo 2.181501 114 114
Eastern Michigan 0.902621 147 137
Akron 0.426895 157 93
Ohio 0.300485 159 127
Western Michigan -0.42761505 170 155
Central Michigan -0.4346393 171 179
Ball State -0.4385138 172 197
Kent State -0.570128 176 148
Northern Illinois -2.16790715 212 184
Bowling Green -2.555768 228 211
Miami -2.938838 237 253
Average -0.1890997333 169.3333333 158.5
Conference Rank 12th of 32 (12th in 2017-18)

KenPom Gaps for 2018-19

Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
23 Ball State 172 109 63
37 Miami 237 183 54
54 Bowling Green 228 188 40
68 Eastern Michigan 147 113 34
84 Ohio 159 132 27
85 Northern Illinois 212 185 27
103 Buffalo 89 71 18
196 Toledo 114 119 -5
199 Kent State 176 182 -6
246 Central Michigan 171 192 -21
261 Akron 157 181 -24
308 Western Michigan 170 214 -44

The good news for the MAC is that KenPom’s preseason numbers project plenty of improvement, particularly among projected contenders. Buffalo’s 18-place jump, which would put the Bulls within the top 75 nationally, is actually the most modest improvement. However, none of the other half-dozen teams expected to rise in the national rankings do so by enough to crack the top 100, though Ball State could get close if it exceeds its 63-place projected rise.

Ranking The Schedules

While the MAC ranks 18th across all four non-conference scheduling categories, it’s league “Super Average” ranks 14th. So what gives? Well, the exempt events some league members (Bowling Green, Buffalo, Miami, WMU, for example) don’t have quite the variance in field quality that many others do, which skews the numbers relative to other conferences with plenty of teams in events with larger quality disparities between the top and bottom entrants in a field.

Regardless, the conference’s non-league slates improved considerably a season ago, even though there are still two bottom 50 schedules. That’s because the number of top 100 slates increased to three from one in 2017-18. Plus, seven teams’ “Super Average” numbers now rank within the top half of Division I, compared to five a year ago.

Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.

Schedule Rankings

Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
36 Eastern Michigan 4.661213862 36 4.661213862 39 4.661213862 55 4.661213862 28
83 Buffalo* 3.758344352 72 3.669544998 85 3.750071748 92 3.589018248 69
86 Ball State** 2.935527295 111 3.749806805 80 4.602168365 56 2.526621965 126
132 Western Michigan* 3.103066226 102 2.623099507 133 2.666952382 151 2.579246632 121
161 Ohio 2.105710513 153 2.105710513 166 2.105710513 176 2.105710513 143
164 Miami** 2.729963882 120 2.130056448 163 2.612310275 155 1.635695093 174
167 Northern Illinois 2.042325808 157 2.042325808 169 2.042325808 179 2.042325808 149
223 Akron** 0.003288872727 277 1.144805354 221 1.664552354 205 0.6746534885 244
234 Kent State 0.911738 230 0.911738 234 0.911738 241 0.911738 225
274 Toledo** -0.07586600341 280 0.2509775389 274 0.6676569587 261 -0.1487647606 283
323 Bowling Green* -0.7413445917 312 -0.9494174058 322 -0.8745665346 323 -1.024268277 319
344 Central Michigan -1.782521042 341 -1.782521042 344 -1.782521042 345 -1.782521042 343
185.5833333 Average 1.637620598 182.5833333 1.713111699 185.8333333 1.918967724 186.5833333 1.480889127 185.3333333
14/32 Conference Rank 18 of 32 18 of 32 18 of 32 18 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

Buffalo, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami, Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan all challenged themselves to a degree this season, with the Bulls hanging close to their four-year ranking, over-scheduling by six spots and the Cardinals (86) and Eagles (111) really aiming to test themselves this season. I suspect that Nate Oats would have built an even more difficult slate had UB not encountered such trouble in picking up games. Of the six teams who under-schedules, Ohio just missed its four-year ranking by two spots, while the rest did considerably worse, with both Toledo and Central Michigan under-scheduling by more than 150 places.

Schedule Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
8 Ohio 159 161 -2
20 Buffalo 89 83 6
96 Western Michigan 170 132 38
114 Northern Illinois 212 167 45
134 Kent State 176 233 -57
149 Akron 157 222 -65
165 Miami 237 164 73
197 Ball State 172 86 86
211 Bowling Green 228 321 -93
241 Eastern Michigan 147 36 111
289 Toledo 114 273 -159
298 Central Michigan 171 342 -171
160.1666667 Average (12/32 conf.) 169.3333333 185 -15.66666667

Home, Power 7 Road, And Non-D1 Games

True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
78 0 22 22

Over the past two seasons, MAC schedules have been remarkably consistent on these four fronts. This year, MAC members will play one more game in all categories except for Power 7 home games than in 2017-18. Of course, in that category, the number drops from one to zero with Kent State traveling to Oregon State to complete the pair’s two-for-one series.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Horizon 26 1
Non-D1 22 0
MVC 8 1
Big East 6 1
MEAC 6 1
C-USA 5 2
Big Ten 5 1
Summit 5 1
ACC 5 0
WAC 5 0
CAA 4 2
Big 12 4 0
Big South 4 0
SWAC 4 0
A 10 3 2
Big West 3 1
America East 3 0
Atlantic Sun 3 0
Ivy 3 0
MAAC 3 0
OVC 3 0
American Athletic 2 2
MW 2 2
SEC 2 2
Big Sky 2 1
Southland 1 3
WCC 1 2
Patriot 1 1
NEC 1 0
Pac-12 1 0
SoCon 1 0
Sun Belt 0 4

With the addition of five games against Horizon League foes, the MAC’s regional mid-major rival jumps the “Non-D1” collective to top these standings for 2018. Those groups dominate this table for a second straight season, with the 48 combined games between them surpassing the total of 45 provided by the remainder of the top 10. Curiously, the Big Ten’s reduction in non-conference games from a maximum of 13 to 11 didn’t affect the number of games scheduled against the MAC—five were lined up last season, and the same total is in place for 2018-19. For the second season in a row, just one conference is missing from the set portion of MAC schedules. Last season it was the WCC, and in 2018-19, it’s the Sun Belt. However, four teams from that conference could meet MAC opposition in the latter stages of tournament play.

Detroit Mercy appears on a whopping six MAC schedules this season, while five of the Titans’ Horizon rivals—Cleveland State, Northern Kentucky, Oakland, Wright State, and Youngstown State—appear three times each. The same goes for Chicago State out of the WAC and the MVC’s Evansville. Flipping things around, Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan will all play four Horizon League opponents, while Eastern Michigan takes on four non-D1 squads. But thanks to a home-and-home series with Evansville, Ball State has the most games scheduled against a single conference, as the Cardinals will play five Missouri Valley games this November and December.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 0 22 2 24 2 3
Quad 2 1 10 0 11 0.9166666667 8
Quad 3 11 11 5 27 2.25 10
Quad 4 43 8 8 59 4.916666667 9
Non-D1/Transitional 23 0 0 23 1.916666667 0
Total 78 51 15 144
Average 6.5 4.25 1.25 12
Percentage 0.5416666667 0.3541666667 0.1041666667
Q1 1-30 1-75 1-50
Q2 31-75 76-135 51-100
Q3 76-160 136-240 101-200
Q4 161-353 241-353 201-353

MAC teams will play just one home non-conference game against a potential top 100 opponent—though Toledo’s visit from rebuilding Middle Tennessee unlikely to end up as either a Quad 1 or 2 win when all is said and done. While there are 26 top 100 road games on the schedule—22 of which come against teams in the top 75 of the four-year rankings (and therefore Quad 1 possibilities), it’s going to take a lot of victories in those contests to get MAC members on the national radar. In terms of tournament play, both Akron and Ball State could earn some quality wins with surprise starts in the Cayman Islands Classic and Charleston Classic.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

36. Eastern Michigan Eagles

*Exempt Event: Hub City Classic

True Home Games (8) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (8) True Road Games (5)
(Non-D1) Rochester 4. Duke
263. Drexel* 167. Rutgers*
(Non-D1) Goshen* 45. TCU
236. Boston University* 116. Northeastern
288. Detroit Mercy 6. Kansas
(Non-D1) Central State
119. UC Irvine
(Non-D1) Siena Heights

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Central State, Rochester) and 0 losses

For the third time in his seven seasons in charge, Rob Murphy’s Eagles passed the 20-win mark. Nine of those victories came early in the season, with four coming against non-D1 opponents. And that’s the number of non-D1 foes featured on this EMU schedule, and those wins will probably come in handy again, thanks to the five road games that drive this slate’s high ranking. While Murphy’s former employer, Syracuse, is missing for the first time since 2015-16, Duke and Kansas feature in the Orange’s place. Eastern will also visit two other possible NCAA teams, Northeastern and TCU, along with Rutgers, with that game serving as the showcase matchup of the Scarlet Knights’ exempt event.

83. Buffalo Bulls

*Exempt Event: Belfast Basketball Classic (Goliath Bracket)

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
253. St. Francis (Pa.) 201. Milwaukee* 9. West Virginia
290. Dartmouth* 107. Stephen F. Austin or 150. Southern Illinois
322. Marist* 142. San Francisco* 74. St. Bonaventure
(Non-D1) Le Moyne 46. Syracuse
150. Southern Illinois 53. Marquette
165. Canisius

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Canisius) and 2 losses (St. Bonaventure, @Syracuse)

A season after winning 27 games, including one in the NCAAs, there are a lot of prognosticators expecting big things out of the Bulls. However, if Nate Oats’ squad is to either earn a higher than expected seed in March Madness—or a surprise at-large—it’s going to have to do some serious work away from Buffalo. Wins over Milwaukee and Stephen F. Austin in Northern Ireland probably won’t be enough for the Bulls’ metrics. But shocking some combo of Marquette, Syracuse, and West Virginia might be.

86. Ball State Cardinals

*Exempt Event: Charleston Classic

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (5)
164. Indiana State 49. Virginia Tech* 8. Purdue*
122. Evansville 55. Alabama or 259. IUPUI
(Non-D1) Tiffin 116. Northeastern* 82. Loyola Chicago
335. Howard 8. Purdue/ 122. Evansville
348. Delaware State 12. Wichita State/ 90. Valparaiso
60. Davidson/
255. Appalachian State*

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (@Indiana State, IUPUI, Valparaiso) and 0 losses

A four-game skid to end the season prevented the Cardinals from winning 20 for the third season in succession, but James Whitford’s side is poised to challenge Buffalo, even if it struggles through November and December. And tough times are likely, thanks to road games at Purdue and Loyola Chicago, a home-and-home with Evansville, and—most dauntingly—three games at the Charleston Classic, where Virginia Tech, then either Alabama or CAA favorite Northeastern, will test Ball State on the first two days.

132. Western Michigan Broncos

*Exempt Event: Emerald Coast Classic (Visitors’ Bracket)

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
288. Detroit Mercy 313. Southern* 75. Ole Miss*
(Non-D1) Aquinas 248. N.C. Central or 131. Oakland
314. USC Upstate 287. Nicholls State* 11. Cincinnati*
201. Milwaukee 308. Youngstown State
281. UC Riverside 17. Michigan
77. Dayton

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@Detroit Mercy, @Milwaukee) and 1 loss (Oakland)

The Broncos looked like contenders after racking up an 8-5 record in November and December of 2017, but Steve Hawkins’ squad couldn’t keep it together during MAC play, with a 17-15 final mark the result. WMU could get off to an even better start this fall, as only the Broncos’ Emerald Coast Classic road games against Ole Miss and Cincinnati and later trips to Michigan and Dayton resemble likely losses. WMU should take the visitors’ crown in the Florida Panhandle and sweep its home games. At that point, transferring any non-conference success to MAC play will be the biggest challenge for Hawkins’ squad.

161. Ohio Bobcats

*Exempt Event: Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (3)
(Non-D1) Wilberforce 285. USF* 18. Xavier
283. Campbell* 208. Loyola Marymount* 288. Detroit Mercy
247. Austin Peay* 8. Purdue
112. Iona
145. Marshall
220. Radford
262. FIU

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 0 wins and 1 loss (Iona)

After winning 20 or more in two consecutive campaigns, the Bobcats dipped to 14-17 in Saul Phillips’ fourth season in charge. Half of those victories came during non-conference play, with Ohio defeating at-large threat WKU in Athens and falling to eventual C-USA champ Marshall by a point in Huntington after overtime. The Thundering Herd visit the Convo this time, as do Big South champ Radford and an Iona squad Ohio lost to at home a season ago. Those contests, along with road games against Purdue and Xavier, are bigger highlights on this slate than the two games the Bobcats will play in Jamaica—featuring South Florida and Loyola Marymount, two of the weaker teams in their respective conferences.

164. Miami RedHawks

*Exempt Event: Islands of the Bahamas Showcase

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (4)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (4)
(Non-D1) Midway 161. North Dakota State* 21. Butler
265. Army West Point 118. Montana or 18. Xavier
(Non-D1) Wilberforce 324. Incarnate Word* 156. Wright State
149. Purdue Fort Wayne 152. Towson/ 153. Northern Kentucky
338. South Carolina State 162. Georgia Southern/
122. Evansville 235. Pepperdine/
278. FAU*

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Wright State, Midway, Purdue Fort Wayne)

In their first season under Jack Owens, the RedHawks bumped their win total up from 11 to 16, earning a CBI bid despite a below-.500 record. (It was not a great selection season for tournaments other than the NCAA or NIT.) While Miami went 7-6 in non-league play this season, equalling that mark could be a stretch this season. That’s thanks to road games against a pair of Big East powers (Butler and Xavier) along with the co-favorites for the Horizon title (Wright State and NKU). However, a difficult quarterfinal at the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase before Thanksgiving—against North Dakota State—could drop the RedHawks into the consolation bracket, which would likely provide a pair of winnable games, something that can’t be said about potential winners’ bracket matchups against Montana and Towson or Georgia Southern.

167. Northern Illinois Huskies

*Exempt Event: Men Against Breast Cancer Oakland Classic

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (5)
(Non-D1) Rockford 192. James Madison* 131. Oakland*
153. Northern Kentucky 223. Oral Roberts* 189. Green Bay
(Non-D1) Illinois Tech 21. Butler
169. UC Davis 153. Northern Kentucky
298. Western Illinois 10. Michigan State
346. Chicago State

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Green Bay, Rockford, @Chicago State)

Mark Montgomery enters his eighth season in charge in DeKalb having led the Huskies to just one winning record, a 21-13 mark in 2015-16. While NIU won seven of its 13 non-conference games, en route to a 13-19 record, this schedule could see the Huskies struggle mightily early. Not only are there road games against Butler and Michigan State, but Northern Illinois also faces Horizon favorite NKU in a home-and-home series, welcomes Big West power UC Davis to the Convocation Center, and travels to Oakland for a round-robin event over Thanksgiving weekend. That’s not a recipe for even slight improvement in NIU’s fortunes.

223. Akron Zips

*Exempt Event: Cayman Islands Classic

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (4) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (4) True Road Games (2)
(Non-D1) Cedarville 308. Youngstown State # 149. Purdue Fort Wayne
346. Chicago State* 29. Clemson* 61. Nevada
337. Alabama State 57. Georgia or
288. Detroit Mercy 87. Illinois State*
145. Marshall 28. Creighton/
197. Tennessee State 66. Boise State/
(Non-D1) Carnegie Mellon 74. St. Bonaventure/
110. Georgia State*
# - Cleveland

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Purdue Fort Wayne) and 1 loss (@Marshall)

The Zips went from 27 wins in Keith Dambrot’s final season to just 14 in John Groce’s first, though Akron tasted success early on, by winning seven of its 12 non-conference games. However, the Zips went 0-3 in their trip to Hawai’i for the Diamond Head Classic, and with 2018 NCAA qualifier Clemson their quarterfinal matchup in the Cayman Islands Classic and either Georgia or Illinois State up on day two, Akron could find itself in position to leave the Caribbean with a similar record. A road game at a Nevada team that’s rated in the top five by many and visit from Marshall means the Zips will be hard pressed to win the majority of their non-league games this time around.

234. Kent State Golden Flashes

*Exempt Event: Commodore Classic

True Home Games (8) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (8) True Road Games (5)
(Non-D1) Shawnee State 276. Cleveland State
233. Liberty* 47. Vanderbilt*
333. Alcorn State* 288. Detroit Mercy
326. Savannah State* 14. Louisville
294. Norfolk State 125. Oregon State
156. Wright State
137. Albany
(Non-D1) Oberlin

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (@Norfolk State, Cleveland State, Oregon State) and 2 losses (@Wright State, @Albany)

The Golden Flashes’ semifinal loss to Buffalo left them at 17-17 for the season, only the second non-winning season in Rob Senderoff’s seven at the helm in Northeast Ohio. Kent State started 6-7 last fall, but a pair of non-D1 home games and six contests against teams ranked outside of the top 200 should bump the Flashes’ non-conference mark over .500 this time around. Three of those sub-200 games are scheduled as part of Kent State’s participation in Vanderbilt‘s exempt event. The Golden Flashes’ contest at Memorial Gym, one against Chris Mack’s first Louisville team, and a rubber match against Oregon State are the three biggest road challenges. Meanwhile, perennial America East contender Albany and Horizon champ Wright State are the two marquee home dates.

274. Toledo Rockets

*Exempt Event: Gulf Coast Showcase

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (3)
(Non-D1) Wilberforce* 96. Louisiana or 138. FGCU* 131. Oakland
(Transitional) North Alabama 146. Colorado State* 156. Wright State
276. Cleveland State 94. South Dakota State/ 145. Marshall
288. Detroit Mercy 119. UC Irvine/
62. Middle Tennessee 194. Tulane/
273. Cornell 245. UTSA*
178. Penn

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: (UT) 4 wins (Oakland, Detroit Mercy, @Cleveland State, @Penn) and 2 losses (Marshall, Wright State)

Tod Kowalczyk’s Rockets, 23-11 a season ago, fell 10 points short of an NCAA bid in losing the MAC final to Buffalo. And while this schedule features only one potential game against a Power 7 team, and that’s Tulane on day three of the Gulf Coast Showcase, this is still a respectable schedule for a mid-major power (even if some of the home games weigh down the overall score). Why? Because it features plenty of other mid-major powers. Middle Tennessee and Ivy champ Penn visit Savage Arena, while the Rockets visit a pair of 2018 NCAA squads—Marshall and Wright State. Plus, the Gulf Coast Showcase field is sneaky good. Not only will Toledo play FGCU in a semi-road game in the quarterfinals, Sun Belt titan Louisiana , Summit champ South Dakota State, Big West contender UC Irvine, and UTSA, a rising C-USA power, all feature in the later rounds. That’s some good work in lining up teams that should benefit your metrics come March.

323. Bowling Green Falcons

*Exempt Event: GotPrint.com Legends Classic (Subregional)

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (1-2) True Road Games (4-5)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (1-2) True Road Games (4-5)
(Non-D1) Tiffin 279. Hampton* 93. St. John's*
248. N.C. Central 304. Loyola (Md.) 67. VCU*
263. Drexel (or Detroit Mercy)* 288. Detroit Mercy
189. Green Bay (or Loyola (Md.))*
(Non-D1) Findlay 302. Hartford
296. Western Carolina 276. Cleveland State
254. UT Martin

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: (BGSU) 2 wins (@Drexel, @Green Bay) and 0 losses

For the second time in three seasons, Michael Huger’s Falcons won 16 games. But for the first time in his tenure, 2017-18’s campaign ended with a non-losing record. Bowling Green was another team that finished the season on an awful skid—dropping its last six games, thanks to the MAC schedule makers doing the team no favors. But there were positives early, as the Falcons went 9-4 during non-league play, capped by a mid-November win over FGCU. Nine or 10 wins are possible against this schedule, as only a pair of Legends Classic road games against St. John’s and VCU look unwinnable for BGSU.

344. Central Michigan Chippewas

*Exempt Event: Junkanoo Jam

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (3)
(Non-D1) Concordia 168. Cal State Bakersfield* 204. Sam Houston State
346. Chicago State 292. San Jose State* 45. TCU
(Non-D1) Siena Heights* 163. Weber State* 308. Youngstown State
323. Southern Utah
268. UMKC
330. Jackson State
(Non-D1) IU South Bend

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: (CMU) 5 wins (Siena Heights, Sam Houston State (N), Cal State Bakersfield (N), Jackson State, @UMKC) and 1 loss (@Southern Utah)

For the second time in Keno Davis’ six seasons in charge, the Chippewas won more than 20 games, though they needed a pair of wins in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament to do so. 11 of CMU’s victories came in November and December, capped by a win over Cal State Bakersfield in the final Great Alaska Shootout championship game. And with five teams the Chips defeated last season featuring on this slate—including the Roadrunners, Central’s first opponent at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas—and just one Power 7 road game (TCU), look for Central Michigan to once again carry a lot of wins into MAC play.

Be sure to follow @ChrisDobbertean on Twitter and to like Blogging the Bracket on Facebook.