Six reasons the Flashes should win against Eastern Michigan Wednesday (and three reasons they may not):
1. Kent State is coming off of its best two games of the season. The lost both, but they played Central Michigan and Akron tough and close. CMU is second in the MAC West, Akron second in the MAC East.
2. The Flashes are home. Both those losses came on the road. Even though KSU hasn’t won many games over the last four years, the Flashes are like most teams — the tend to play better in front of a home crowd.
3. Eastern Michigan is not a particularly good team. It is in last place in the MAC West with a 10-9 record, and three of those wins have come against non-Division I opponents. (One victory — not an exhibition — came against Kent State-Tuscarawas. Really.)
4. The Eagles are still reeling from tragedy. One of their starters — forward Shannise Heady– was killed in an auto accident 10 days ago. She was their fourth leading scorer and third leading rebounder. Fans of Kent State football — who with their team mourned starting center Jason Bitsko — will tell you dthat it’s not an easy thing to recover from, emotionally or athletically.
5. EMU doesn’t shoot particularly well — 38 percent or eighth in the MAC — or defend particularly well — 38 percent or sixth in the MAC. They’re only making 27 percent of their three-point shots, 10th in the league, and only 4.5 three-pointers a game — 10th in the conference. KSU has had trouble both shooting and defending.
6. Kent State is starting to find some consistency on offense. Center Cici Shannon has rebounded in double figures for six straight games. Forward Jordan Korinek has averaged 12 points a game in that time. After a dreadful slump, leading scorer Larissa Lurken has scored in double figures in the last three games.
But. . .
Here’s what KSU has to worry about most:
1. They haven’t proven that they CAN win. Two good losses are still losses. The Flashes are still 3-16, 1-7 in the MAC.
2. Eastern Michigan is the MAC leader in forcing turnovers and second in turnover margin. Kent State is second to last in both. KSU has probably had 10 games this season in which its opponents’ points off turnovers were greater than the margin of victory.
3. Eastern Michigan sees Kent State as a chance to win as much as the Flashes see the Eagles as a possible victory. The game will be hard fought.