Flashes host Bowling Green, the start of a chance to move up in the standings

If there can be a must game for a team that’s 5-18, Kent State’s Saturday game against Bowling Green is one.

The Flashes are 2-10 in the MAC but play the three teams just ahead of them in the remaining five conference games. They have three of their five games at home, where they have played their best.

Here’s the MAC East standings:

Akron                   7-6

Buffalo                 4-9

Bowling Green  4-9

Miami                  3-10

Kent                      2-11

Add to that mix Northern Illinois, which is 3-10 in the MAC West. The Huskies will be competing with the losing teams in the East for seeding in the conference tournament.

Kent State is playing its best basketball of the season. In their last six games, the Flashes have played four solid games and two good halves. (They beat NIU and Ball State and lost to Western Michigan and Miami by three points. They outplayed Western Michigan and Akron in first halves before losing.)

The teams ahead of them aren’t doing so well.

BG, Saturday’s opponent, has lost five in a row. Miami has lost four in a row. Buffalo has lost eight of its last 10. Northern has lost 10 of 12, including what would be a tie-breaker for tournament seeding to Kent State. The Huskies also play nothing but winning teams in the West for the rest of the season.

So KSU has a legitimate shot of moving past Miami and Bowling Green if the Flashes can beat them in the MAC Center. I consider Northern pretty much out of the picture, considering its schedule and the fact KSU holds the tie-breaker because of its victory over the Bulls.

So let’s look at the possible final standings. They assume Ohio wins all of its remaining games (a good bet) and Akron wins all of its remaining games (more iffy but the Zips are clearly the second-best team in the division). Then we assume that the home team will win every other game. We get:

Ohio          17-1

Akron       12-6

Buffalo     7-11

BG             4-14

KSU           4-14

Miami       3-15

NIU            3-15

The key spot is Buffalo’s. It would be the eighth seed in the tournament and get a first-round game at home.

Kent State plays Akron at home. The Flashes led the Zips by 11 at halftime on the road Tuesday. So they clearly have a chance against them at home.

Kent’s last game of the season is at Buffalo. If the Flashes would win that one and beats Akron, they and the Bulls would tie at 6-10.

That sounds nice, but there’s one big problem: Buffalo is the only team in the MAC to beat Ohio (51-43 at Buffalo). And the Bulls beat Central Michigan, the leaders in the West.

The MAC tie-breakers work like this: If everything else is even (head-to-head competition, divisional record), the league looks at records against the first place team, in the league, then the second place team, etc.

So there’s really no way Kent State could win a tie breaker against Buffalo. For the Flashes to pass the Bulls and get the home tournament game, they would have to beat Ohio at Ohio, which no team has done this season. Or Buffalo would have to lose at home to either BG or Miami. That’s somewhat more likely — Miami beat the Bulls at Miami. But I wouldn’t count on it happening again.

This is undoubtably a silly academic exercise. Upsets are bound to happen. Kent State hasn’t shown it can win on the road (where it is 0-10 this season).

But what the heck. It’s more fun than writing the same statistical preview I’ve written all season.

One statistic you ought to know about Saturday’s game, though: Bowling Green clobbered KSU 71-49 at Bowling Green Jan. 23 when it made 15 of 29 three-point shots. It was probably the low point of the season for Kent State. It might have been the high point of at least the MAC season for the Falcons, who also have beaten 7-6 Eastern Michigan at home and NIU and Miami on the road.

Saturday’s game is no cinch for Kent State. But the Flashes have a solid chance.

The game is at 5 p.m. The unusual starting time is because it originally was supposed to be the first game of a doubleheader with KSU’s men’s team, who were to play Akron at 7. But the Akron game was moved to Friday so it could be televised nationally.

Audio for the women starts at 4:45 on WHLO 640 and Golden Flash iHeart Radio. You can get video and live statistics through the Kent State website.

Kent State website preview

Bowling Green team website

KSU statistics

MAC statistics

MAC standings

 

 

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7 comments

    • flashfanday1

      I have to agree with goldenflash101. Reaching a whole lot here! 2 is not a winner and 3 nobody remembers! Better basketball is nice, but coach needs to start winning something!

      However this was a great read and I surely enjoy the hopeful aspect and what ifs. Hopefully this team makes a run starting tonight, yet another winnable game. Just as Wednesday’s game was. I’ve already become convinced she doesn’t know how to close out games at this point. Still not attacking the basket at crucial times, the ball is still a hot potato when it counts, and still stagnant play calling when you don’t have time for anything other than attacking the basket, still weak and slow in transition play. Maybe the BG game will be different (hoping)!

      I’ve give her credit for finally implementing some man to man into the defense. Took enough baskets and loses for that adjustment to show up! This team had the potential to be ranked much higher with surely some road wins.

      Thanks for taking the time with this blog.. its a great go to!

      Like

      • Carl Schierhorn

        Looking at the results, it certainly was a reach.

        But as I said, it’s better than writing another routine preview. And if I ever got to the point where I just would run down the team and the coach, I’d give up the blog. That’s just not me.

        Thanks for the comment and for reading.

        Like

  1. goldenflash101

    This game was really frustrating for me. Our defense shutdown the three and of course BGs center scored 24 points almost at will. Korinek scored 14 but had to do it with short jump shots. Tibbs pretty much dominated her inside. Also Korinek got her usual illegal screen fouls (2) and played the game in foul trouble.

    Justinger also pretty much shutdown Lurken (the double pigtails didn’t work tonight). She scored 12 and Lurken only 9 with only 2 in the second half.

    We did get 19 from James but it was not enough.

    Another concern was coach playing Cross 25 minutes and Salisbury 17 minutes. Cross always looks better. She is quicker, but nothing ever seems to happen. Maybe I’m imagining things but Salisbury did not look too happy. Maybe she was under the weather as she looked out of it tonight. I guess will find out over the next week.

    Maybe I’m nuts but Korinek, Lurken, James and Stepens look like legitimate D1 players. That’s at least 3 more than we have had in the last three years and yet the team performance seems to stay the same. Yes a better point guard would help but it seems like we should have more than 5 wins this year. The offense just doesn’t flow.

    Like

    • Carl Schierhorn

      I’m terribly disappointed. The BG center killed us. (Statistically it was by far her best game of the year; she had only eight points when we played them before.) And somehow Korinek has to stay out of foul trouble. (She’s had at least four in 11 of 14 MAC games.)

      I really thought we could win this game.

      I noticed the Cross/Sailsbury minutes, too. Neither was even slightly effective (combined 0 for 4, six turnovers).

      I’d say Golden is a legitimate D1 player, too, at least on defense. And she’s just a freshman.

      But you’re right. The talent may be improving, but the record isn’t getting any better.

      Maybe Megan Carter is the point guard. She was a big scorer and good ball handler in high school. But I’m to discouraged to hope right now.

      Like

  2. flashfanday1

    Here’s the thing with this team, the attack is so unbalanced and what I would call top heavy. Which leads me to my next point. The PG spot and set offense is killing this team. Reminds me of last year! While i like the somewhat safe feeling you get with Sailsbury, that in fact is what it is. Safe! She doesn’t keep the defense guessing and actually allows for a stronger defense on Korinek. You know exactly what you’re getting. Needed at times but not all game long. EASY on the scout report! I use to think Cross could be the difference maker. She started the season strong in my opinion then turned into what i could only describe as a less predictable Sailsbury but with a higher turnover rate. I keep wondering what happened and why Coach turned away from Cross, but I guess turnovers and no scoring could do that alone. She doesn’t look like the same player that started the season to me. I still think coach missed a real opportunity with player development and use this season between freshmen Barber-Smith and Parker as I’ve stated before. I believe Barber-Smith could’ve really backed up Korinek and helped with the BG Center Saturday for example and I still believe the speed of Parker is being wasted as a way to attack the basket and more shot production when needed from a PG. If Barber-Smith corrected fouling and Parker turnovers maybe, just maybe you could balance the attack and defense. At this point I can only hope they’re being developed properly off the court if they’re going to be around. I have to believe lack of experience is a factor and 30 secs – 1 min a game wont help a player show your what they have. Carter could be the go to PG, but her history of injuries are worrisome at this point. I did like her unpredictability.

    I see a lot of D1 players on this team The talent is there.. I do believe they are playing better basketball in spurts but the offense and defense isn’t being managed properly, especially at critical times. I think O’banion doesnt know what else to try at this point.

    Have you noticed they seem to lose the same way over and over again?

    Call me crazy, but what do you think of this lineup maybe after the Ohio game for Akron and Miami. Korinek, Lurken, (Golden or James), Parker, Barber-Smith. The key would be an early offense most of the game, then Motion and then coach steps in when necessary with a Set offense. This team may not be conditioned for that style of play, but its a thought and its different! Mostly man defense.

    The Set offense all game doesn’t work, surely not down in the 4th quarter.

    Just for grins I would love to see what an interim head coach or another coach on staff could do for the rest of the season.

    Still saying Go Flashes! and Beat OHIO?

    Like

    • goldenflash101

      I just saw this post and I like it. I absolutely think the set offense is killing them. I describe it as a bad power play in hockey. Pass the ball around the perimeter but whatever you do don’t shoot. They have to do something different as next years team will essentially be the same players (unless 4 or 5 leave like last year). Your description of Salisbury is accurate. She looked better because she doesn’t turn it over but nothing that good happens either. Cross drives me crazy. Her fake pass to the right followed by dribbling doesn’t fake out anybody. To be a fake she occasionally has to actually make the pass. She never does. Due to her size she absolutely has to make some three pointers. But like most players on this team she won’t even try.
      The only thing I’m not to comfortable with is playing the back up center. I’m still waiting for Tiffany LeFleur and a few others to develop. I don’t believe that strategy is too effective in the women’s game. They rarely red shirt them giving them an extra year. The best bigs look good right from the start much like Korinek. I can’t think of one good center in the last 25 years that was big, slow and un coordinated as a freshman and then came around to help us as a junior and senior. Studer, Lynn, Schearer, Templin, Forbes, etc all improved a bit but they made an impact immediately. The only one that comes to mind is Jenny Kempf but she lost 40-50 pounds between freshman and sophomore year so that was a bit unusual. No big on this team has that issue.

      As far as your interim coach idea, I am pretty sure another coach would have gotten more than 5 wins out of this team and last years team. The people that follow men’s basketball at Kent saw the Toledo game and said they look like high school teams with no D1 talent. I think they say that because they don’t watch enough women’s basketball. It’s good to hear some people see what I see and agree that this team should be winning more. I just hope the school cares enough to make the necessary changes. I’m worried that if your not football you don’t matter under this administration and things will be allowed to continue.

      Like

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