What we've learned from the MAC so far

What we've learned from the MAC so far

Published Jan. 10, 2012 10:23 a.m. ET

By Parker Perry
Special to FOXSportsOhio.com

What we learned after the MAC opening weekend.

Prior to last weekend, The Mid-American Conference teams based in Ohio grabbed a little national attention. Though some wanted to declare the top teams of the conference right away, the MAC has proven that the league is up for the taking. After the first game of the conference schedule, here are three things that we learned.

1.    Julian Mavunga is the real deal.  

After nearly shutting out one of the best big men in the Conference (Zeke Marshall of Akron), Miami’s Mavunga has announced himself as one of the top players in the league. He scored 23 points in his 40 minuets of play Saturday night against the Zips in the Redhawk loss. Mavunga now averages just above 19 points a game and is not just an inside-post player. He converted two of his three opportunities from beyond the arc, and he has averaged 33% from that range this season.

2. Buffalo has the potential to compete for the MAC title.
The Bulls have slowly built up a program, and might be ready to take the next step. After taking down '11-'12 favorites Kent State at home Saturday, Buffalo is comfortable enough to make a deep run in the MAC tournament.  Javon McCrea, last year's MAC freshman of the year, has played a big role in UB’s success. McCrea scored 25 points against Kent State in the victory and has averaged 17.8 points per game this season.
3. The MAC East is going to be chaotic in the coming months.

In the West, things are a little more predictable. But the East is a whole different story. Bowling Green beat Ohio at home by ten points, and Buffalo took down Kent State. In BGSU's victory, a combined seven players scored in double digits and the game was closer than the score shows, thanks to some late free throws. Road wins will apparently be precious commodity. The parity of the league is at an all time high, and every MAC East victory will be difficult to come by. Also, a new tournament format that awards the top two squads with a bye to the semi finals. One game could mean the difference between playing four games or two in the conference tournament.