Marshall and Ball State Expected To Lead MAC Pack

Updated 10/19/2000

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    Cleveland, Ohio - For the second consecutive year, the MAC News Media Association has predicted a very close race for the 2001 Mid-American Conference men's basketball championship. If the numbers hold true, expect Marshall to walk off the Gund Arena floor March 10 with the title trophy.

    The Thundering Herd was selected by 29 of the 40 voters to win the East Division and by 14 MNMA members to capture the tournament.

    A total of five teams received votes as candidates to win their respective divisions. East members Marshall (29) and Kent State (11) gained first-place recognition while in the West, Ball State (20), Toledo (19) and Central Michigan (1) were noticed.

    Tabbed as tournament favorite was Marshall (14), followed by defending tournament champion Ball State (10), Kent State (7), Toledo (6), defending regular season title holder Bowling Green (1), Miami (1) and Central Michigan (1).

    Marshall is predicted to edge Kent State for the East Division regular season title by a 265-229 margin. Both the Herd and Golden Flashes return four starters.

    BGSU, which won the regular season title with a 14-4 mark last year, is selected third with 174 points, just ahead of Miami at 165. The RedHawks have made it to the MAC Tournament championship game each of the last four years.

    Ohio is slated for a fifth place finish, Akron sixth and Buffalo seventh in the East.

    An extremely close race is in store for the West Division with the pollsters pointing to Ball State, with 219 points, as a slight favorite over Toledo (213). The teams tied for the West title last year with identical 11-7 records.

    Central Michigan received one first place vote and is in the third spot with 133 points, just ahead of instate rival Eastern Michigan at 122. Northern Illinois is in the fifth position and Western Michigan sixth, with 79 and 74 points, respectively.

    MAC Preseason Poll
    East Division
    School 	 		Points 	To Win Tournament
    1. Marshall (29) 	265 		14
    2. Kent State (11) 	229 		7
    3. Bowling Green  	174 		1
    4. Miami 		165 		1
    5. Ohio  		144 		-
    6. Akron 		100 		-
    7. Buffalo 		43 		-
    
    West Division
    School 			Points 	To Win Tournament
    1. Ball State (20) 	219 		10
    2. Toledo (19) 		213 		6
    3. Central Michigan (1) 133 		1
    4. Eastern Michigan 	122 		-
    5. Northern Illinois 	79 		-
    6. Western Michigan 	74 		-
    

    Votes: East Division points awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis; West Division points awarded on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.