Basketball teams tabbed as runners-up in MAC East

Josh Johnston

The Kent State men’s and women’s basketball teams were both picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference East Division this season, according to the preseason polls announced Thursday morning.

The men were placed behind last year’s MAC Tournament champion Ohio, who received 12 first-place votes and were also tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the MAC Tournament again. Kent State received eight first-place votes and garnered six votes for this season’s tournament championship.

Preseason polls

Men’s MAC preseason poll:

East division:

1. Ohio (12)

2. Kent State (8)

3. Akron (4)

4. Miami

5. Bowling Green

6. Buffalo

West division:

1. Ball State (12)

2. Central Michigan (8)

3. Eastern Michigan (2)

4. Western Michigan

5. Northern Illinois (2)

6. Toledo

Tournament champion: Ohio (10), Kent State (6), Central Michigan (4), Ball State (2), Akron (2)

Women’s MAC preseason poll

East division:

1. Bowling Green (43)

2. Kent State (5)

3. Miami

4. Akron

5. Ohio

6. Buffalo

West division:

1. Toledo (40)

2. Eastern Michigan (8)

3. Central Michigan

4. Ball State

5. Northern Illinois

6. Western Michigan

Tournament Champion: Bowling Green (37)

(First-place votes in parentheses)

The Flashes return just two starters from last year’s lineup that won the regular season MAC East title. With eight new players added to the roster, Kent State coach Geno Ford said the team could take a few months to mesh well.

“With all the new guys to the lineup, this is a bit of a transition year for us, but everyone is working hard and we’re excited to get the season underway,” Ford said. “We definitely have some talented individual players and at times have looked really good in practice. We’re expecting to hit some bumps at the beginning of the year, but hopefully we’ll be a really good team by the time February rolls around.”

Junior forward Justin Greene was chosen to the preseason All-MAC East team. Last season he broke out, scoring 13.6 points per game and pulling down 6.9 rebounds per game.

The women were selected behind perennial MAC East power Bowling Green, who won the MAC Tournament and regular season last year. The Falcons were also selected as favorites to win the tournament this year.

Last season Kent State finished second in the MAC East with a 12-4 conference record. After falling to Toledo 51-49 in the MAC Tournament semifinals, the women received their first postseason birth in six years with a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

Representing the Flashes on the preseason All-MAC East team was senior guard Jamilah Humes, who led the women with 14.6 points per game and 2.5 steals per game.

The men open their season against Iona at the World Vision Classic hosted by Cleveland State on Nov. 12, while the women start at Canisius the same day.

You can contact Josh Johnston at [email protected].