The Bracketology Report: Kent State

Updated: February 4, 2004, 9:07 AM ET
By Joe Lunardi | Insider Bracketologist

Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.

Week in review
Kent State (RPI No. 53, SOS No. 65) is continuing to comfortably control the Mid-American Conference race. While they have had the benefit of playing the next two best teams-Western Michigan and Toledo-at home, the Golden Flashes won those contests by 13 and 36 points, respectively. Overall, they boast a 9.0 ppg margin of victory against MAC competition.

It was more of the same last week, with Kent winning fairly routinely at Bowling Green (RPI No. 232, SOS No. 253), 71-64, and against Akron (RPI No. 141, SOS No. 163) at home, 77-66. The Flashes have broken away from an early-season pattern of playing closer-than-expected games against the likes of Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, Ball State and Marshall.

Coming up
The good news is that Kent State should not be severely tested by the next five teams on its schedule; the bad news is that those same five teams have a collective RPI of 233.4. This does not bode well for Kent's already tenuous at-large candidacy in a year in which the Golden Flashes are hardly alone in the category of "mid-majors without portfolio."

Only bad things can happen this week, as Kent visits Northern Illinois (RPI No. 288, SOS No. 295) on Wednesday and Central Michigan (RPI No. 304, SOS No. 213) on Saturday. The Flashes will gain little if they win both games, but suffer an enormous RPI hit if they stumble. Such is life-however unfair-for teams without an RPI Top 50 win on their resume.

Also coming up for Kent State, of course, is the Feb. 21 Bracket Buster event. The Golden Flashes have been paired with Creighton (RPI No. 69, SOS No. 279) in a game neither team can afford to lose if they are counting on a possible NCAA at-large bid.

"Bubble trouble"
Kent State is No. 47 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. This position actually sounds better than it really is, because the Golden Flashes are not ahead of any at-large teams in the field as currently projected.

As reported elsewhere in Bracketology, this is not a good year for mid-major NCAA Tournament candidates. None of the most commonly listed "mids" has beaten a certain NCAA team, Kent included. So the best the Golden Flashes can do is keep winning, because they are going to get little (if any) help from either their remaining schedule or, more importantly, the Selection Committee.

Games of the Week
Kent State fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For BOSTON COLLEGE @Notre Dame (Wed.)
So. Illinois @ CREIGHTON (Sat.)
Against RICHMOND @ Dayton (Sat.)
SAN DIEGO ST @ Utah (Sat.)


Inside the Numbers
Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include:
"Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) NONE
(vs. RPI 26-50) NONE
(vs. RPI 51-100) Western Michigan, Toledo
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-200) @ Miami-OH
(vs. RPI sub-200) NONE
Record vs. projected field (0-0)
Win: NONE Loss: NONE
Record vs. at-large pool (1-1)
Win: Western Michigan
Loss: @ Boston College
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Kent State
  • 8-1 MAC record
  • 7-2 road/neutral record
  • Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Kent State
  • No games vs. projected NCAA field
  • NonConf SOS No. 259
  • Season breakdown (13-3, 8-1)
    All RPI data through Monday, Feb. 2

    Date      Opponent              Result         Opp. RPI      Opp. SOS
    11/21     Houghton              111-52 (NonDI)   n/a           n/a
    11/25     @IPFW                 67-66            276           93
    11/29     @SW Missouri State    64-63            113           211

    12/2 @Eastern Michigan 83-74 279 255 12/14 Rhode Island 49-60 (L) 89 140 12/17 Cleveland State 116-66 290 120 12/20 @Boston College 54-58 (L, ot) 28 4 12/27 N-St. Bonaventure 74-46 152 41 12/30 @Detroit 68-48 121 62

    1/3 Ball State 70-67 129 61 1/6 @Marshall 63-61 173 90 1/10 Ohio 80-71 214 153 1/14 @Miami-OH 65-74 (L) 122 145 1/21 Western Michigan 84-71 51 230 1/25 Toledo 92-56 82 229 1/28 @Bowling Green 71-64 232 253 1/31 Akron 77-66 141 163

    2/4 @Northern Illinois 288 295 2/7 @Central Michigan 304 213 2/11 Buffalo 166 141 2/14 Bowling Green 232 253 2/18 Marshall 173 90 2/21 Creighton 69 279 2/25 @Buffalo 166 141 2/29 @Akron 141 163

    3/3 Miami-OH 122 145 3/6 Ohio 214 153 3/8 MAC Tournament


    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Feb. 3)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA bid: 55 percent
    Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 35 percent
    Chance of NIT bid: 40 percent
    Chance of missing post-season: 5 percent

    Joe Lunardi | email

    Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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