Basketball season will open Nov. 10

Sean Joseph

The Kent State men’s basketball team will open its 2006-2007 season Nov. 10 against South Dakota State in a tournament in Columbus, where it has a chance to meet the nationally ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Flashes will also travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play Duke for a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN Dec. 19. Kent State could be playing as many as seven postseason teams from last year, according to a press release issued Friday by the Kent State Athletic Department.

“We have a very competitive schedule again this season,” said fifth-year coach Jim Christian in the press release. “We play in a lot of difficult environments early in the season which will present some very strong challenges for our team.”

Last year the Flashes won the Mid-American Conference Tournament and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002, losing to Pittsburgh 79-64 in the first round. They went 7-5 against non-conference teams last year in the regular season and 15-3 against MAC opponents.

This year Kent State will play 13 non-conference teams and be a part of ESPN BracketBusters in February for the fifth year in a row.

The team will open its season in the SportsTime Ohio Black Coaches Association Classic at Ohio State with a field that includes the Buckeyes, South Dakota State, Alabama A&M, Indiana-Purdue, Loyola (Chicago), Princeton and the Virginia Military Institute.

The Flashes’ home opener will be against Detroit-Mercy Nov. 18. They will play Temple at the M.A.C. Center three days later before leaving on a four-game road trip against Butler, Cleveland State, Indiana-Purdue (Fort Wayne) and Duke. They then return home to play Youngstown State on Dec. 22.

Kent State will host Elon, New Hampshire and Shawnee State for a four-team holiday tournament on Dec. 29 and 30.

The team will go on the road to play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for its last game before the MAC season starts.

“We feel that it is very important to play a challenging non-conference schedule to better prepare us for league play,” Christian said. “We play in a very competitive and demanding conference and we look to be well-tested heading into MAC play.”

The week before students come back to campus for the spring semester, the Flashes will hit the road to play MAC-East Division foes Miami, on Jan. 7, and Buffalo, on Jan. 10. The weekend before classes start, students can return to see them take on Ohio on Jan. 14.

Kent State will make the short trip to play archrival Akron at the JAR Arena on Jan. 17.

The Flashes will finish the first round of intradivisional play against Bowling Green at the M.A.C. Center on Jan. 20 before playing six consecutive teams from the MAC West Division.

Kent State will finish its regular season by playing each of the MAC East teams one more time. In this critical part of the schedule, the Flashes will travel to Ohio on Feb. 24 and Bowling Green March 1. They will wrap up the regular season against Akron at home on March 4.

The MAC Tournament will take place March 7-10 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. For the first time, all MAC teams will travel to Cleveland for the first round, instead of playing at the top-seeded teams’ venues.

The athletic department has yet to announce game times.

Contact sports editor Sean Joseph at [email protected].