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2017 MAC Tournament First Round Preview: Central Michigan Chippewas at Kent State Golden Flashes

The fun duo take on a streaking Golden Flashes squad

NCAA Basketball: Central Michigan at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to losing their regular season finale to Akron, the Kent State Golden Flashes had won 5 in a row, and 9 out of 12. The Central Michigan Chippewas have lost 7 in a row.

The winner of this game will take on 3 seed, and 2 time defending MAC tournament champion Buffalo Bulls on Thursday.

Game Details

When: Monday, March 6th, 7:00 p.m.

Where: M.A.C. Center, Kent, Ohio

Watch: via stream at

Listen: WHLO 640 in Akron or stream at

Line: Kent State -9

Scouting the Chippewas

Central Michigan leads the MAC and are 4th in the nation in scoring at 87.7 points per game. They are 8 points ahead of second place Toledo.

On defense they really can’t stop anyone, giving up 86.8 points per game. To put that in perspective, Kentucky is 5th in the country scoring 86.8 points per game.

On offense, they are led by Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson. Each are 5’9, and stocky. Not only are they capable of pulling up from anywhere, they will drive to the hoop and finish.

Scouting the Golden Flashes

The Golden Flashes are a solid defensive team that only has 3 guys averaging over 5.2 points per game.

The key to stopping Kent State is stopping senior Jimmy Hall. He is averaging 18.2 points per game, and 10.5 rebounds. He is one of the best players in the conference, and the most consistent. He is averaging 20 points and 11.2 rebounds over his last 4 games.

Players to Watch

Jaylin Walker, Kent: The sophomore guard is averaging 15 points per game.

Deon Edwin, Kent: The active Edwin averages 13.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Marcus Keene, CMU: The 5’9 Keene is averaging 29.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game.

Braylon Rayson, CMU: Averaging 20.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists, it’s not hyperbole when I say Rayson and Keene are two of the most exciting players to watch in all of college basketball.

Keys to the Contest

The Chippewas haven’t really stopped anyone all season. The only team they have kept under 80 in the conference season is Bowling Green, at 76. The good news for the Chippewas is that only 3 Kent State players are averaging more than 5.2 points per game. If they focus their effort, they might have a chance.

There isn’t really a way to stop Rayson and Keene, so the Golden Flashes should focus their efforts to shutting out the rest of the Chips, which is quite possible.


Much like their first meeting, which CMU won in overtime, I expect this to be a close game. Unlike the first meeting, Kent State is trending up while the Chippewas are trending down. Kent State 95-90.