Kent State draws Western Kentucky for NIT game


The season is not over yet for the men’s basketball team.

Kent State (20-12) was selected to play in the National Invitation Tournament last night and will play Western Kentucky (21-8) Wednesday night in the opening round

The schools have a tie with Western Kentucky graduate assistant Eric Haut, who was a starting guard for Kent State last year. His Hilltoppers have been tough to beat at home, losing only one game. Their NIT bid comes after a semifinal loss to Denver in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The NIT selection for the Flashes comes after they were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament against eventual champion Ohio. The Bobcats (21-10) were the only MAC school selected to the NCAA Tournament. Four MAC teams were selected to the NIT. Other matchups include: Buffalo, which lost in the MAC Tournament final, playing host to Drexel, Western Michigan at Marquette and Texas Christian at Miami.

Kent State’s last two seasons ended with quick exits from the NIT. It lost 65-54 to West Virginia last year and 71-66 to College of Charleston in 2003. Both games were played at home. Both times, Kent State was coming off a loss in the MAC Tournament Championship game.

The last time the Flashes were not coming off an appearance in the MAC’s title game in 2000, it went three games into the NIT. Coincidentally, that NIT run came after a quarterfinal loss against Ohio, too.

Kent State’s third straight trip to the NIT is its seventh straight postseason appearance. The winner of the Kent State-Western Kentucky game will play the winner of the Houston-Wichita State game.

— Matt Goul