A look at the opponents

As college basketball breaks from Christmas, it’s a good time to check on how Kent State’s opponents so far this year have done.

Overall, Kent’s schedule strength rated by the RealTimeRPI website is 251 of 349 teams. That’s third (to Miami and Ohio) in the MAC East. Every team in the MAC West, however, except Northern Illinois has played tougher competition.

(Quick asides: Akron, which is 10-0, and Bowling Green (6-3) have played the weakest competition in the conference. Central Michigan has played the toughest — 26th hardest in the country. The Chippewas (4-5) lost to 12-0 South Carolina and 11-1 Minnesota in Minnesota’s holiday tournament last weekend.)

So let’s look at the teams Kent State, (2-8) has played. Scores of the KSU games are in parenthesis. For comparison, KSU’s RPI is 296, second lowest in the MAC. (Northern Illinois is 307th.)

NORTH DAKOTA (74-68 loss on the road) — The Bison are 3-8, with their other victories coming against Northeastern and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (a Division I School). They lost to MAC opponent Western Michigan 74-59 on the road. Their RPI is 302; schedule strength is 300.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE (68-49 loss at Kent) — The Penguins (8-1) won their first eight games before losing to Pittsburgh (8-3) Sunday. The only teams with winning records they’ve beaten are Niagara (5-4) and Bucknell (7-3). Their RPI IS 54, schedule strength is 227. They play Akron at home Dec. 29 in what should be a very interesting game.

NORTHWESTERN (72-54 loss on the road) — The Wildcats (10-1) lost their first game Sunday to 9-2 Arizona State on the road. They’ve beaten Illinois Chicago (7-3), DePaul (8-4), Virginia Tech (8-4) and Gonzaga (7-4). Their defense statistically was among the nation’s best before they gave up 88 points in Arizona. Northwestern starts Big Ten play after Christmas; all but two Big Ten teams have RPIs in the top 75. Northwestern’s RPI is 41; its schedule strength is 215.

BELMONT (58-55 victory in Kent) — The Bruins (3-8) continue to have little success against rough opposition. RealTimeRPI ranks their schedule as 30th toughest in the country. They’ve lost to Vanderbilt (7-4), Louisville (11-1), Akron (10-0), Chattanooga (9-3), Kentucky (10-2), Cleveland State (6-4) and Georgia (12-0). Next they play Western Kentucky (10-2). Fortunately for them, only one team in the Ohio Valley Conference has a winning record (Jacksonville at 9-3). So Belmont may end up above .500, maybe well above .500.

TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI (57-47 loss at San Luis Obispo tournament) — Kent State would like to have this tournament back. Corpus Christi is 3-7 and hasn’t even played a team with a winning record. Its RPI is 337 and schedule strength is 340.

DARTMOUTH (60-49 loss at San nLuis Obispo) — The Big Green are 5-6. Besides Kent, they’ve beaten Holy Cross (3-8), Cal Poly (4-7), Hartford (5-7) and Loyola Chicago (2-8). Their RPI is 217; their schedule strength 279.

DUQUESNE (86-60 loss at Duquesne) — The Dukes are 7-5 and have won seven of nine after losing their first three. They beat Pittsburgh (8-3) and have lost to Princeton (13-0), Syracuse (8-3), Green Bay (9-2) and West Virginia (9-0). Their RPI is 112 and schedule strength 150.

CLEVELAND STATE (69-67 loss at Cleveland State) — The Vikings are 7-4. Their best wins have come at home against Toledo (6-4) and East Carolina (9-2). Their RPI is 135, schedule strength 198.

ARKANSAS (59-44 loss in Kent) — The Red Wolves are 5-4 against tough completion (77th in the country).They’ve losing to Mississippi State (13-0), Colorado (7-3), Chattanooga (9-3), Ohio State (7-4) and Kansas (8-3).)  Their RPI is 80.

COLGATE (62-61 win Sunday at Colgate) — The team KSU just beat is 1-9 with an RPI of 293 and schedule strength of 141. They’ve lost to Harvard (5-4), Cornell (5-4), Drexell (5-4), Georgia (11-0), Rutgers (9-2), St. Bonaventure (8-3) and Albany (7-4).

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