Rob Hanes, Columnist

Saturday’s win against Eastern Michigan University (EMU) showed the Mid-American Conference (MAC) that the Miami University basketball team is a legitimate contender.

After starting the year 0-4, the RedHawks have posted a 9-6 record and are 5-3 in conference play. That puts them within one game of a share of MAC East division leaders Ohio and Akron. This is extremely impressive considering the transfer of the team’s second-leading scorer through its first six games, Reggie Johnson. His sudden transfer left many RedHawk fans wondering if they would even have a chance to go .500 this season. But here we are midway through the season and the RedHawks are 9-10 and two games above .500 in MAC play. So, how has Miami done it and who has stepped up to make this team a legitimate threat in the MAC?

The answer is the two Wills. Many already know Will Felder. The RedHawk big-man is leading the team in points, with 14.8 per game, and in rebounds at 7.4 per game. He was most impressive in his last game where he amassed 15 rebounds against EMU’s 7-foot center, Da’Shonte Riley. Felder also made the game-winning shot against EMU with only a few seconds left on the clock. When the RedHawks need a big game or a clutch shot, Will Felder has stepped up.

While Felder has been tearing it up, another Will has quietly been putting up incredible numbers.

Will Sullivan has stepped up in Johnson’s absence and has made it hard for head coach John Cooper to take him off the court. Since Sullivan has become a starter, the RedHawks are 8-5. Watching him on the court is like watching a general command his troops while on the front lines. He is continually making plays and using his voice to keep the RedHawks under control. He is also shooting an astounding 50.9 percent from 3-point range, which is over 18 percent higher than anyone else on the team. If Sullivan had enough 3-pointers to qualify, he would lead the nation in 3-point percentage. In his last game against EMU he was almost automatic going 5-6 from beyond the arc. Sullivan has taken his opportunity and run with it. This Will may not be the high profile guy that Will Felder is, but he has certainly impacted the RedHawks immensely.

If the RedHawks are going to make a run at the MAC title, it will largely depend on the two Will’s. If they are able to continue playing the way they have been these past few weeks, they will be a legitimate dark horse during the tournament. There are many if’s and there are many games left to be played, but every other MAC team better watch out because the two Will’s and the Miami RedHawks may just surprise them.