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Kent State Leads MAC in Latest NET Rankings

The Golden Flashes’ 33rd national ranking leads the MAC, and positions them ahead of notable power programs.

Syndication: The Alliance Review Nicholas McLaughlin / USA TODAY NETWORK

Debuting in the 2018-19 campaign to replace the former RPI, the NET is a computer rating system that the NCAA tournament selection committee uses to determine the strength of tournament candidates.

It uses a complex formula to rank all 363 D1 men’s basketball programs, which is built on a team’s performance against opponents in each “Quad.” The quads are quartiles of the national rankings, with the top programs belonging to Quad 1, and lowest-ranked programs fitting into Quad 4.

It is also worth noting that the NET does not factor in matchups against non-DI opponents. Many MAC teams’ records are affected by this.

Under this system, Rob Senderoff’s Golden Flashes have performed well, and have been ranked accordingly.

In the most recent iteration of the NCAA NET rankings, released on December 12, the Kent State Golden Flashes lead the MAC as the 33rd ranked team in the country.

This is a minor slide from Kent State’s opening rank at 24th nationally. The fall can be attributed to Golden Flashes’ loss at the hands of Gonzaga.

Even still, at the 33rd position, Kent State ranks sixth among all mid-major programs, and is slotted ahead of Michigan State, North Carolina, and other perennial powerhouses.

Kent State has challenged itself with three Quad 1 games on its schedule. Although the squad has fallen in each contest, it kept them close. Most notably, the Golden Flashes’ road outings against #1 Houston and #18 Gonzaga were particularly impactful to its ranking, as they fell by fewer than seven points in both games.

Outside of its close Quad 1 losses, 2022 MAC Player of the Year Sincere Carry and his teammates have not dropped a game. The Golden Flashes picked up notable wins against Northern Kentucky, Portland, and South Dakota State.

The 7-3 Kent State unit has fared well in the early NET rankings, but the rest of the conference has not received the same acclaim.

Over 100 spots lower than its rival, Akron is the second-highest rated team in the MAC at 134. Sporting a 4-4 overall record against Division I opponents through its first eight games, the 2022 MAC tournament champions have not yet displayed the consistency expected of them.

Rounding out the top three MAC squads is Ohio at 138. Jeff Boals and his new-look Bobcats struggled in their opening games with 1-3 record. However, Ohio has turned it around with three wins in its last four games against DI competition, which has skyrocketed its ranking over 50 spots.

The remaining nine MAC programs are currently ranked as follows: Ball State (139), Toledo (160), Buffalo (211), Bowling Green (250), Central Michigan (285), Northern Illinois (307), Eastern Michigan (310), Miami (326), Western Michigan (343).

Arguably the most disappointing early NET ranking of any MAC team is Eastern Michigan’s spot at 310. The Eagles are just 1-9 against DI competition thus far, a far cry from what many expected of the Emoni Bates-led bunch.

The NCAA will update its NET rankings daily until the long-awaited Selection Sunday. The MAC’s performance in the NET as the season unfolds is worth monitoring, as it will determine the conference’s ability to send more than one team to the NCAA tournament.