Tournament time is here


Men’s, women’s basketball teams prepare to take on the MAC

Junior DeAndre Haynes shouts with excitement after Kent State took a large lead in the second half against Ohio.

Credit: Beth Rankin

No men’s basketball team has won the Mid-American Conference tournament championship coming from the first round since its expansion to four rounds five years ago.

That is Kent State’s task if it hopes to get back to the MAC tournament final for the fifth straight time. The Flashes (19-11, 11-7 MAC) had a first-round bye each time they advanced to the final. Only twice has any team reached the final without the bye.

“But I don’t think the league has been this close before, either,” said Ohio coach Tim O’Shea, whose team lost to Kent State 82-65 Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes will play Central Michigan tonight at 7. Kent State is seeded fifth in the 13-team conference but finished in a six-way tie for second place. Tickets will be sold at the M.A.C. Center leading up to the game. Students get in for free on a first-come first-serve basis.

Kent State beat Central Michigan both times they played this season.

The women’s team, which did not have to play a first-round game, will not play until Wednesday at Gund Arena. The women’s team (19-8, 12-4 MAC) is seeded second in the MAC tournament and will play Ohio at 5:30 p.m. The teams split their regular-season series. Ohio won the first matchup in Athens, but Kent State came back for 74-39 win two weeks ago at the M.A.C. Center.

Kent State’s game on Wednesday will come after an eight-day layoff. It closed the season last Tuesday with an 87-33 win over Buffalo.

— Matt Goul