MAC releases remainder of Kent State men’s basketball schedule

%28from+left%29+Freshman+Griffin+Rath%2C+sophomore+Nick+Larson%2C+freshman+Seth+Ference%2C+sophomore+Matt+Grissom+and+sophomore+Michael+Parker+celebrate+in+the+student+section+as+Kent+State+scores+against+BGSU+in+the+M.A.C.+Center+on+Monday%2C+Mar.+7%2C+2016.

(from left) Freshman Griffin Rath, sophomore Nick Larson, freshman Seth Ference, sophomore Matt Grissom and sophomore Michael Parker celebrate in the student section as Kent State scores against BGSU in the M.A.C. Center on Monday, Mar. 7, 2016.

Nick Buzzelli

The Mid-American Conference released the league schedule for Kent State’s men’s basketball team Wednesday afternoon.

The Flashes, who returned two starters from last season’s squad that went 19-13, will play 18 league contests from Jan. 3 to March 3, and a non-conference slate that features first-time opponents, Northeastern University, Grambling State University and the University of Texas.

Kent State will begin the 2016-17 campaign by facing off against regional foe Cleveland State University in the Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer Doubleheader in Youngstown before opening its home schedule four days later against Mississippi Valley State.

The Flashes will then participate in the Gulf Coast Showcase from Nov. 18-23, hosting Division III Hiram College at the M.A.C. Center before traveling to Estero, Florida to play the University of South Dakota and two other programs that have yet to be announced.

Kent State will close out its non-conference schedule with a trip to Corvallis to play Oregon State University, a 2016 NCAA Tournament team, and then head to Austin for matchup with Texas the week before opening league play at home against Ball State.

Other notable MAC contests will be on Feb. 7 when the Flashes will square off against Bowling Green State University, the team that bounced them from the first round of last season’s postseason tournament.

The Flashes also face off on Feb. 18 and Mar. 3 for the annual home-and-home against rival The University of Akron as part of the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge to end the regular season.

The MAC Tournament is scheduled to begin three days later at campus sites before moving to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for the second, third and championship rounds March 8-11.

Nick Buzzelli is sports reporter, contact him at [email protected]