As Kent State closes its regular season at Buffalo Saturday, there are really only two things to be decided:
- Where are the Flashes going for the first-round MAC tournament game next week?
- Can they win a game on the road?
So far the answer to No. 2 is no.
KSU (6-21, 3-14 in the MAC) has lost all 11 of its games away from the MAC Center this season. It’s only come close to winning on the road once – a 55-52 loss at Miami when it let a fourth-quarter lead get away and a three=point shot that could have sent the game to overtime bounced off the rim.
Kent State is 6-21 and 3-14 in the MAC. The Flashes have won one more than that they did last year. A win at Buffalo would equal coach Danny O’Banion’s best season. Her team was 7-23 two years ago.
The seeding is pretty simple. Right now the Flashes– 3-14 in the conference – would be seeded 11th and play at Eastern Michigan. Best I can tell, there are only three ways – all unlikely – that could change:
- If they beat Buffalo and Northern Illinois (4-13 in the MAC, 11-17 overall) loses to to Western Michigan (7-10, 15-14), they would move past NIU to the 10th seed. They own the tie-breaker with Northern based on their 95-85 victory in Kent. If that happens, they’d play at Western Michigan.
- If KSU loses to Buffalo and Miami (3-14, 9-18) beats first-place Ohio at Ohio, Miami would move past Kent and the Flashes would probably play at Akron in the first round of the tournament. The odds of Miami, riddled with injuries and losers of eight straight games, winning in Athens against the 23-5 Bobcats are about as slim as they come.
- It’s slightly possible that Eastern could move past Akron into the fifth seed. That would put KSU against Akron in a 6 vs. 11 match-up (assuming the Flashes don’t beat Buffalo). But the Eagles would have to beat Central Michigan, which is first in the West at 13-4, at Central, and Akron would have to lose at home to 6-11 Bowling Green.
So it looks like a repeat of last year’s first-round MAC tournament game, when KSU led at halftime but lost at Eastern, 70-52. Earlier this season, Eastern (19-7, 10-7) beat Kent State in Ypsilanti, 72-51.
Buffalo is 7-10 in the MAC and 15-13 overall. The Bulls beat KSU 77-66 in Kent in January. They also are the only conference team to beat Ohio this season; they did it twice in the biggest mystery of the MAC season.