Conference previews: MAC and Atlantic 10

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Another fantastic season is around the corner and we take an inside look at the Mid-American Conference and Atlantic 10 Conference in our latest conference previews.

In not so much a surprise, Bowling Green and Kent State are expected to compete for the MAC crown.

Bowling Green won the regular season title last season, but fell short of a regional berth. Kent State, though, earned an automatic berth to the postseason by winning the MAC tournament title.

In the Atlantic 10, Dayton once again is our pick to win the Atlantic 10 regular season. But the Flyers also would like to earn a trip to an NCAA regional this season.

Xavier, Charlotte and Rhode Island also will be solid, while Richmond is expected to be a pleasant surprise.

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Eastern division
1. Bowling Green
2. Kent State
3. Ohio
4. Miami (Ohio)
5. Akron
6. Buffalo

Western division
1. Ball State
2. Toledo
3. Eastern Michigan
4. Central Michigan
5. Northern Illinois
6. Western Michigan

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
C Zach Dygert, Ball State
1B Nate Theunissen, Central Michigan
2B Logan Meisler, Bowling Green
SS Alex Jones, Northern Illinois
3B Derek Spencer, Bowling Green
OF Gauntlett Eldemire, Ohio
OF Adam Eaton, Miami (Ohio)
OF Jordin Hood, Northern Illinois
DH Matt Skirving, Eastern Michigan
SP Brennan Smith, Bowling Green
SP Trent Howard, Central Michigan
SP Matt Kuna, Toledo
RP Andrew Chafin, Kent State
BEST PITCHER
Brennan Smith, Bowling Green
BEST HITTER
Derek Spencer, Bowling Green

Bowling Green hopes to seal the deal this season.

The Falcons had a solid 2009 campaign and won the MAC regular season title. However, they were unable to win the conference tournament and were left sitting at home while Kent State represented the conference in the NCAA postseason.

The Falcons are the pick to win the conference title.

Kent State aims for its third regional berth in the last four seasons. The Golden Flashes won the conference tournament last season and also advanced in ’07. Eastern Michigan earned the league’s automatic bid two seasons ago.

The Golden Flashes once again return a wealth of talent, including pitchers Andrew Chafin and Kyle Hallock.

Ball State, Toledo and Ohio are other teams to watch.

AT A GLANCE
Regular-season winner last season: Bowling Green
Tournament winner last season: Kent State

New coaches: None
Coach on the rise: Scott Stricklin, Kent State
Rising stock: Bowling Green
Falling stock: Western Michigan
Regional contenders: Bowling Green, Kent State
Injuries to note: Shawn Marquardt (elbow), Miami (Ohio)

ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Dayton
2. Charlotte
3. Xavier
4. Rhode Island
5. Richmond
6. Massachusetts
7. Saint Louis
8. Temple
9. Fordham
10. George Washington
11. St. Bonaventure
12. St. Joseph’s
13. La Salle
14. Duquesne
ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
C Zane Williams, Charlotte
1B Ben Thomas, Xavier
2B Sean Rockey, George Washington
SS Tom Zebroski, George Washington
3B Jimmy Roesinger, Dayton
OF Mike Donato, Massachusetts
OF Justin Wilson, Charlotte
OF Aaron Dunsmore, Dayton
DH Ryan Rivers, Charlotte
SP Joe Yermal, Charlotte
SP Cameron Hobson, Dayton
SP Eric Cantrell, George Washington
RP Kelly McLain, Charlotte
BEST PITCHER
Joe Yermal, Charlotte
BEST HITTER
Sean Rockey, George Washington
Dayton won the conference regular season title and compiled an impressive 38-19 record last season, but was nowhere to be found in the NCAA postseason.

The Flyers hope to find a way to make an NCAA regional this season.

Charlotte and Xavier are expected to fight Dayton for the conference crown this season, while Rhode Island always is a team to watch with coach Jim Foster in charge.

The Rams compiled a 37-20 record and a solid postseason resume last season. However, the NCAA Selection Committee didn’t give the Rams an at-large regional bid. Now, the Rams enter the season motivated more than ever.

Richmond and Massachusetts are teams that could be vastly improved.

Duquesne plays its final season of baseball this spring.

AT A GLANCE
Regular-season winner last season: Dayton
Tournament winner last season: Xavier

New coaches: None
Coach on the rise: Jim Foster, Rhode Island
Rising stock: Dayton
Falling stock: Duquesne
Regional contenders: Dayton, Xavier
Injuries to note: Tyler Koors (Tommy John surgery), Xavier

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com. Follow him on Twitter and follow Yahoo! Sports College Baseball on Facebook. Send Kendall a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Saturday, Feb 13, 2010