Keys to the BracketBuster

Sports staff

Doug Gulasy, Men’s basketball writer

Key to the game: Who sets the pace? The teams are opposite in how they play offensively. St. Mary’s is a team that likes to run, while the Flashes would prefer to slow the game down. If the Flashes can get the Gaels to play a slower, grind-it-out type of game, they have a much better chance at victory. Also important for the Flashes is a fast start. McKeon Pavilion is notorious for having 3,500 screaming fans. If the Flashes can quiet those fans early, a win becomes much easier.

Player to watch: Junior guard Jordan Mincy. Mincy, known mostly for defensive play, has drawn an extremely difficult task tonight in St. Mary’s freshman guard Patrick Mills. Mills keys the St. Mary’s attack; he leads the Gaels in scoring (15.2 points per game). Mincy needs to limit Mills’ effectiveness if the Flashes are to have a fighting chance.

Joe Harrington, Assistant sports editor

Key to the game: It’s the post. Kent State senior Haminn Quaintance, for the most part, has dominated the Mid-American Conference this season. Can he bring his intense post defense to McKeon Pavilion? The Gaels have three 6’7 forwards and their center, sophomore Omar Samhan, is 6’ll. However, the strength of the Flashes’ front court is the all round speed Quaintance and fellow senior Mike Scott possess. The noise may be a problem, the arena is about as big as a shoe box.

Player to watch: All of Kent State’s 3-point shooters. The Gaels will try to turn this game into a 3-point contest, and Kent State can either play that style or stick to its slash and score style that has helped them win 22 games this season. The Flashes played mostly zone defense against Buffalo on Tuesday, if that’s the case tonight, the Gaels could have plenty of open opportunities tonight. I expect Kent State coach Jim Christian to employ a tough man-to-man.