HUNTER ON THE HUNT:
With Ohio's 77-57 win at home against Central Florida on Dec. 13, Larry Hunter became the MAC's sixth winningest coach ever with his 171st win. Hunter, in his 11th season at Ohio, needs just four more wins to pass Ben Braun (Eastern Michigan 1986-96) who has 174 triumphs. Hunter could get his 174th win in Hawaii as the Bobcats play Toledo and Portland prior to heading to the Outrigger Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 28-30. No. 22 ranked Gonzaga will be the Bobcats first round opponent with either Oregon or Wake Forest to follow.
TOP 'O THE MAC:
Eastern Michigan University began last year with 14 consecutive losses, including two by one point, one by two points and another in overtime. This season, however, Milton Barnes has his Eagles flying high with an overall mark of 5-2 and 1-0 in the MAC West. EMU topped Ohio 65-55 Dec. 8 in the first league contest of the season to take the early top spot. The Eagles' field goal percentage defense is drastically improved, leading the MAC at .349 percetn after finishing 11th last year at .445, and the team also leads the MAC in blocked shots at 6.0 per game.
Akron's Jami Bosley continues to play unphased by a heavily taped right foot. He scored 20 points in both of the Zips' games last week, including a 79-56 MAC opening triumph over Northern Illinois. Bosley has 21 career 20-point games and made 17-of-18 free throws last week to improve to .833 percent for the year, just a tad bit below his MAC-leading .861 accuyracy rate from last season.
BALL STATE IS FIRST:
Along with Purdue, the Ball State Cardinals will play the first men's college basketball game at the new Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Conseco is the home of the Indiana Pacers. The game is scheduled for Dec. 18 with a 7:00 tip-off. Purdue is ranked 24th (A.P.) nationally while the Cardinals received votes in the latest Associated Press poll.
Two MAC teams suffered their first defeat of the season last week. Kent lost a 75-73 decision at Michigan while Bowling Green had its six-game win streak snapped in an 83-75 overtime loss at Northern Iowa. Marshall is the league's lone undfeated team with a 5-0 mark, heading into three games in the next seven days against Rio Grande, Georgia and Western Michigan.
ACTION FROM JACKSON:
Bowling Green junior guard Trent Jackson scored only 44points in 183 minutes his last year. He had to sit out the first semester after transferring from Ohio State,
where he played in 14 games during the 1996-97
season (2.9 ppg). Jackson's patience in waiting for playing time was well invested and now the payoff for BG is Jackson's league-leading field goal percetage (.623, 38-of-61) and league-best free throw percentage (.880, 22-of-25). Jackson is averaging 14.0 points a game, 18th best in the MAC, and his 98 total points is 14 more than he scored the last two years with the Falcons and Buckeyes.
Brandon Pardon, a transfer from Wright State, will be eligible for the Falcons for the first time this week for the West Virginia game on Dec. 18. Pardon started 24 of 28 games during the 1997-98 season and averaged 6.1 points per game.
CAMPBELL COOL VS. CAROLINA:
Buffalo junior guard Louis Campbell was at his best against the best. Campbell led all scorers with 25 points in a 91-67 loss to seventh-ranked North Carolina. Campbell's 18 first-half points gave UB a 40-35 lead at the intermission, and his three-pointer at the halftime buzzer was CNN's Play of the Day.
The Bulls' game Dec. 7 versus the Tar Heels drew an Alumni Arena record 8,926 fans, including standing room only. The game was the first UB sellout at Alumni Arena.
Off-season foot surgery has sidelined the 1999 MAC Freshman of the Year, Central Michigan's Mike Manciel, for the entire season. Manciel will have a screw put in his left foot and will not return. Manciel averaged 17.5 points and 6.4 rebounds a game last year for the Chippewas, both team highs. Look for sophomore guard David Webber to continue picking up the scoring loss left by Manciel's departure. Webber, the younger brother of Sacramento King Chris Webber, is averaging a MAC sixth-best 18.7 ppg and has a high of 29 against Detroit.
BOARD TURN AROUND:
After winning the battle of the boards in its first three games to go 3-1, Central Michigan lost the rebounding war the next three times out and was 0-3 during those games.
WARY OF THE HERD:
SEC member Georgia should be aware that Marshall's Henderson Center is not a "Home Away From Home" for nationally recognized opponents. The Bulldogs, coming off wins over Georgia Tech and No. 21 Wake Forest, play at Marshall on Dec. 18. The Herd has defeated Wake Forest and UMass at the Henderson Center during the last two years. At 5-0, Marshall is off to its best start since the 1996-97 squad also went 5-0. Marshall can boast of the MAC leader in three-point FG pct. (Cornelius Jackson, .600, 9-of-15) and three-point goals per game (Tamar Slay, 3.0/15 in 5 games). Slay is averaging 17.2 ppg and teams with J.R. VanHoose (17.8 ppg) as the only individuals from the same team to rank in the top 10 scoring among MAC players.
With home wins over Xavier and Notre Dame, Miami stretched its home winning streak to 16, the 14th longest streak in the country. Miami will get a chance to extend that string Saturday versus Wright State. Miami's schedule, ranked as the 13th-most difficult in the country, has featured four teams who are ranked or received votes in the latest national polls.
A Big Ten team will play at Evans Field House in DeKalb on Tuesday for the first time since 1988 as Northern Illinois hosts Wisconsin. The Huskies last hosted a Big Ten team on Dec. 23, 1988, when Minnesota provided the opposition.
STONEROOK IS STRONG:
Ohio's Shaun Stonerook not only led the nation in rebounding (12.4) after last week's first NCAA reporting period, he also has posted double-doubles in seven of eight games.
Last year Ball State freshman Lonnie Jones led the MAC in blocked shots at 2.0 per game. This year another Cardinal freshman, Theron Smith, is among the league's rebound leaders as he is tied for fourth with 8.7 per game. Smith is also contributing 11.3 ppg.
QUICK AS A CAT:
Ohio's Anthony Jones tied a school record with eight steals in a game in the 'Cats 73-65 win against Houston. Jones, who has won MAC Defensive Player of the Week twice in the first three weeks of the season, leads the MAC with 26 steals in six games, an average of 3.3 per outing. The MAC single season record for steals is 103 set during the 1997-98 season by Ball State's Bonzi Wells.
EYE ON THE RECORD BOOK:
Ball State tied the school record with 13 three-point goals in the 80-70 win against Butler ... Central Michigan set a school record for three-point goals (16) and attempts (39) in an 83-80 loss to Detroit ... Akron's Jimmal Ball needs five steals to break the school mark of 189 ... Bowling Green's Anthony Stacey has 1,560 career points and is only 274 away from the school record of 1,834 held by Howard Komives ... Ohio's Sanjay Adell went over 1,000 points for his career vs. West Virginia and now has 1,002 ... the Bobcats' Anthony Jones tied a school record with eight steals versus Houston.
MAC Teams In the Sagarin Ratings (as of 12/14/99)
38. Ball State
78. Bowling Green
105. Eastern Michigan
179. Northern Illinois
198. Western Michigan
205. Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan will have a 13-day gap between games (Dec. 8-21) and Toledo (Dec. 9-18) and Western Michigan (Dec. 11-20) both have a nine-day break. Following its game on Dec. 18, Miami has an 11-day gap until its next game.
Trent Jackson, Sr., father of BGSU's Trent Jackson, was a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Track and Field team and later played in the NFL for Philadelphia and Washington.
This Week's Schedule
Tuesday, December 14
Wisconsin at Northern Illinois, 7:05 pm
Wednesday, December 15
Rio Grande at Marshall, 7:00
Saturday, December 18
Akron at Rhode Island, 7:30
Ball State vs. Purdue (at Indianapolis), 7:00
Bowling Green at West Virginia, 7:00
*Northern Illinois at Buffalo, 7:30
*Toledo at Ohio, 8:00
Central Michigan at Georgia State, 2:00
Georgia at Marshall, 4:00
Wright State at Miami, 7:00 pm
Monday, December 20
*Marshall at Western Michigan, 7:00
Toledo at Youngstown State, 7:30
Tuesday, December 21
*Buffalo at Akron, 7:30
Chaminade at Ball State, 7:00 pm
Eastern Michigan at TCU, 7:05
Kent at St. Bonaventure, 8:00
Northern Illinois at Wright State, 7:05
Wednesday, December 22
Urbana at Bowling Green, 7:00 pm
Central Michigan at Purdue, 8:00
Ohio at Portland, 7:00
Toledo at Ohio State, 8:00
Marist at Western Michigan, 7:00
Thursday, December 23
Eastern Michigan at IUPUI, 7:00
IP-Fort Wayne at Kent, 7:00
Northern Illinois at DePaul, 7:30