Kent State travels Wednesday to Buffalo, the MAC East leader and clearly one of the top three teams in the the conferences.
The Bulls are 8-2 in the league, losing only to undefeated Central Michigan, and, a little inexplicably, to Northern Illinois, the last-place team in the West. Overall Buffalo is 17-4, the best start in program history.
Kent State is 4-7 in the MAC and 11-12 overall. The Flashes have been wildly inconsistent all season. The last four games are a good example. KSU beat 15-8 Toledo at Toledo on Jan. 24, then lost to 7-15 Akron at Akron, beat Bowling Green Jan. 31 by the largest margin of the season, then lost to Northern Illinois at home on Saturday.
Buffalo does a lot of things well, but the one that most threatens Kent State most is force turnovers. The Bulls are eighth in the nation in turnovers caused and have forced at least 20 in 12 of their last 13 games.
Kent State is second to last in the conference in turnover margin in conference games at minus-3.45 a game. Buffalo is plus-6.0.
The Bulls start three seniors and have two more than play major minutes off the bench. Their best player, though, is a junior transfer from Massachusetts, 5-9 junior guard Cierra Dillard. She averages 15.7 points, 4.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Point guard Stephanie Reid is one of the best in the MAC, averaging 7.2 assists and 11.1 points per game. 6-3 senior Cassie Oursler and 6-1 sophomore Summer Hemphill are among the best post combinations in the conference.
Kent State has gotten a lot of scoring from 6-3 senior forward Jordan Korinek (22.5 points per game in league games, second in the MAC) but has struggled to find consistent scoring elsewhere. Megan Carter (11.6 per game) and McKenna Stephens (10.5) also average in double figures. Carter has scored as many as 27, but also scored two against Bowling Green a week ago. Stephens has scored as many as 17 in the conference and as few as six. KSU’s fourth leading scorer, Ali Poole, has ranged from two to 17 points in the MAC.
To follow the game
Action starts at 7 p.m..
Video is on ESPN3. You can follow it online if your subscribe to ESPN on cable or on satellite.
Audio starts at about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio and WHLO 640.
Live statistics will be available through the Buffalo website.
Kent State website, including links to statistics, roster, schedule/results, record book and more.
Preview from the Buffalo website, including links.
Conference-game only MAC statistics, including standings.