Records: Kent State (12-10, 3-6 MAC), Eastern Michigan (12-10, 4-5 MAC).
When/Where: Today, 2 p.m./Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Radio: WHLO 640 AM.
Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (54-36, 3rd season); Rob Murphy, Eastern Michigan (42-46, 3rd year). Senderoff and Murphy were both assistant head coaches at KSU from 2002-04 under current Ohio head coach Jim Christian.
2012-13 Records: Kent State 21-14, 9-7 MAC; Eastern Michigan 16-18, 7-9 MAC.
Series: Kent State leads 39-30. The Flashes have won 17 straight against the Eagles, including eight in a row in Ypsilanti, and won 77-62 in Kent last year.
Scouting Eastern Michigan
The Eagles have dropped four of their last five games, but the losses are all excusable. They suffered four-point losses at Miami and at Akron, where they led the Zips by nine with six minutes left, and fell at home to the Zips and Ohio. ... Eastern Michigan features the MAC's top defense, a matchup zone that's allowing just 63.3 points per game. Teams are shooting just 37 percent from the field against the Eagles, who lead the MAC in steals (8.7 spg) and have the league's second-leading shot-blocker in 7-foot senior center Da'Shonte Riley (2.7 bpg). ... Junior forward Karrington Ward (6-7) leads four EMU players averaging in double figures at 13.1 points per game, and also grabs 6.9 boards per outing. Senior forward Glenn Bryant (6-8) is next in line (10.6 points, 5.6 rebounds), followed by 6-3 freshman guard Raven Lee (10.1 points, 36.7 percent 3-pointers) and 6-0 junior guard Mike Talley (transfer from Duquesne, 10 ppg, 3.5 apg).
Last year, Kent State opened the season 3-6 in the MAC, then won eight of its next nine to reach the MAC Tournament semifinals and finished with 20 wins for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons. The Flashes are in the same spot this year after dropping five of their last six conference contests. ... Kent State is coming off a 78-73 overtime loss at Central Michigan on Wednesday, a game it led 32-25 at halftime. ... Junior point guard Kris Brewer leads three KSU players in double figures at 12.1 points per game, and also averages a team-best three assists. Junior guard Derek Jackson is second in scoring (10.7 ppg), followed by senior forward Darren Goodson (10.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists). ... Sophomore Khaliq Spicer (4 points, 3.7 rebounds), who has started the past four games at forward, is questionable due to a right wrist injury suffered during a morning shoot-around before Wednesday's game at CMU. If he can't go, senior Mark Henniger (7.7 points, team-high 5.3 rebounds) will likely start in his place.
Senderoff on Eastern Michigan
"They play all zone and they press. For some reason the last of couple games we've really struggled against the press, which is something I'm struggling to understand because we play three or four guards most of the game, so we shouldn't have an issue with it but we have. I'm concerned about the press. They're the leading defensive team in the league, so it's not gonna be easy to score in the half-court against them. They've got great length. We're gonna have to do a good job of moving the basketball and getting offensive rebounds. On offense they run a lot of isolation stuff, and we're gonna have to do a good job one-on-one of keeping guys in front and forcing some tough shots. As a team they're similar to us in that they started out strong, and right now in league play they've really struggled in close games. They probably have the most talent in the league."
Senderoff on Kent State
"We were in the same position last year (3-6 in the MAC), and the only guys that can battle their way out of it are the guys in our locker room. For us to win, as a group we have to play better. When we were winning (8-1 start to the season) we had every guy on the roster play well, that's the reason we won games. We don't have an all-conference player on the team, so we have to get (positive) contributions from everybody, whoever steps on the floor. When we don't get that, we don't have the depth of talent right now to where we can overcome that. Our players know it. We need to be totally locked into everything, we can't have breakdowns."
Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier