The Flashes are 3-7 heading into the Mid-American Conference season, which starts Saturday with a game at Central Michigan.
The three wins are more than three of the four seasons since KSU’s last winning record and equal the most in coach Danny O’Banion’s four years here.
But that’s not saying that much. In those four years — Bob Lindsay’s final season and O’Banion’s three full seasons — KSU was 6-21, 3-27, 7-23 and 5-25.
The start is disappointing. O’Banion built a non-conference schedule with seven home games and what looked like six or seven beatable teams. I thought the Flashes had a decent chance of going 5-5.
But here’s what happened:
They beat the two weakest teams on their schedule fairly easily. Malone (a 73-59 win) was a Division II team that now has a 4-5 record. North Dakota State (a 75-54 victory) is 5-9 with an RPI of 340 (out of 350 Division I schools). (All RPI rankings are according to RealTimeRPI. The rankings are based on a team’s record, its opponents’ records and opponents’ opponents’ record. Extra weight is given to road wins and home losses.)
They played came within five points of three good teams — Wright State (now 11-3 with a 99 RPI), Minnesota (8-3 and 123 RPI) and Brown (10-2 and 132 RPI).
They beat one mediocre team (Colgate, which is 3-8 with a 267 RPI) and lost by double digits by three others — (IPFW (4-9, RPI 322)) Cleveland State (3-7, RPI 329) and Bradley (4-6, RPI 214).
They lost to Youngstown State (10-2, RPI 87)) by 30.
Kent State’s RPI is 321, lowest in the MAC.
And that’s the scary thing about the rest of the season. The MAC looks as good as it has in years. The conference RPI is 10th in the nation. Every team except Kent State and Bowling Green has a winning record. (MAC standings and statistics)
We’ll look at the MAC after the first weekend’s action.
Kent State has its work cut out for it. Tomorrow we’ll revisit our “keys to the season” to see what the Flashes have to do in order to end with a year we can be satisfied with.