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Ohio Will Dominate MACtion

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The MAC is always an unpredictable conference. This year, however, may be a repeat of last season for years to come.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It's November, which means college hoops are right around the corner. The Mid-American Conference is one to have a close eye on, seeing that a team who went 9-21 just a couple seasons ago made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in over 20 years. That team is the Ohio University Bobcats.

Head coach Bob Boldon turned a failing basketball program into a MAC powerhouse. The ‘cats still have their two key factors in Quiera Lampkins and Kiyanna Black returning this season. Most of the MAC championship team is returning for Ohio. In the MAC preseason poll, the ‘Cats are picked to win the MAC East again this season.

The Eastern Michigan Eagles will make their presence known in the MAC West. The Eagles also experienced a turnaround season last year. They also have their key player in Cha Sweeney returning for them this season.

Ohio was selected to take the MAC regular season and tournament championships for the upcoming season. The only two schools behind them are Ball State and Eastern Michigan.

Ball State finished last season at 17-14 and as MAC West champions. The Cardinals still have Nathalie Fontaine and Jill Morrison returning for them this season, but they did lose Shelbie Justice to graduation, who was one of the MAC's top three-point shooters.

Right behind Ball State is Western Michigan, Toledo, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois. All of these programs have not found their groove in conference play with a combined record of 25-29.

The Chippewas lost a lot of their roster and will be very youthful this season, much like Buffalo. They will lean heavily on their sophomore class, but they do have returning senior and CMU assist leader in Da'Jourie Turner. She will be the leading force for Central Michigan.

The Toledo Rockets is also a young team as well with 10 of their 14 roster spots consists of freshman and sophomores. However, they're returning a big scorer in Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott, who was ranked in the MAC's top 10 scorers with 508 points. They'll try to make some noise in the MAC West.

Northern Illinois is bringing in a fresh face on the sideline with first-year head coach Lisa Carlsen. She's coming from Lewis University, where she led the Flyers to four NCAA appearances and an Elite Eight appearance last season. NIU is also returning their top rebounder in Ally Lehman, who averaged about seven boards a game. The Huskies will shock many this season.

Western Michigan lost four players but is returning three of their four top scorers in Miracle Woods, Alex Morton, and Jessica Jessing. Woods averaged 15 points per game last season and also about seven rebounds. She will be the driving force for the Broncos this season, and the MAC recognized it with their selection of Woods to the preseason All-MAC team.

The MAC East has some competition in the Akron Zips and the Buffalo Bulls, both teams who gave Ohio a run for their money. Both finished with above .500 records in conference. Buffalo lost a substantial chunk of their roster, especially Mackenzie Loesing. They are very youthful squad with only two juniors and one senior. They could surprise fans, but this will most likely be a rebuilding season for them.

The Zips, on the other hand, will still give Ohio some trouble. Akron is returning a good amount of their roster, specifically Anita Brown and Hannah Plybon. Akron was the highest scoring team in the MAC, averaging over 70 points a game. Akron and Ohio will be battling it out in the MAC East this season.

Behind Akron is Bowling Green, Miami, Buffalo, and Kent State. Excluding Buffalo, all of these programs had dismal records overall and in conference. They had a combined total of 9 conference wins last season, and it's going to be even tougher with many of last year's stars returning for their respective teams.

Bowling Green did suffer massive injuries last season. If they can stay healthy, they will make their presence known in the MAC. They do have returning 5th year senior in Erica Donovan, whose season was cut short because of injury. They are returning four starters and are predicted to place 3rd in the MAC East.

Miami and Kent State had similar struggles. Both averaged only 55 points per contest and turned the ball over three times more per game last season. Miami has not had a winning season since 2012, and Kent State hasn't had a winning season since 2010. They won't make much noise again in the 2015-2016 season.

It will be Ohio on top again for this season, as Boldon has found his knack here in Athens and has recruited extremely well. They will continue to be a powerhouse for the next three or four seasons. But it is MACtion, so anything can happen.