Just two seasons ago, Kent State entered the NCAA Tournament a 3-seed in their regional, put in Gary, Indiana, and faced up against a solid Purdue team, a solid SEC squad in Kentucky, and local fan favorite Valpo. It took the Golden Flashes just three games, including an incredible opener that went 21 innings, to win said regional and head out West to face 5th overall seed Oregon in the Super Regionals.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to this season. Kent State is seeded 4th in the MAC Tournament, and underdogs to a West heavy attack of Central Michigan (on the other side of the bracket), and Ball State, who only dropped four MAC games all season. They would down the Cardinals, let their East brethren take care of the Chips, and get some help from Western Michigan to head to a face-off against rival Akron for the title game.
Nothing new here for the Golden Flashes, as they would take the tournament for a fifth time in six seasons in a solid pitchers' duel.
On Monday, while Americans everywhere celebrated Memorial Day with barbecues and swimming, Kent State eagerly awaited their placement in the NCAA Tournament. Would they head to 4th overall seed Indiana? What about Louisville? They're close too. Or would they get shipped off to the South or West?
Around 12:14 PM, they got their answer, as ESPNU unveiled the Louisville regional, with the (presumable) 12th overall seed Cardinals as hosts. What's worse, is that the Golden Flashes could not get any help like they did two years ago and draw a 3-seed. They got the hosts in their first game of the double-elimination opener. Also in that same region is Kansas as the 3-seed and 2-seed Kentu....OH HAI KENTUCKY!
Let's take a quick scouting report at the Cards, shall we?
45-15 record? Nice. Ranked most of the season? Crap. 6-2 record against MAC foes? That's not great (especially considering the opponents were WMU, Toledo, and Miami). But the damning tell? 29-7 home record. Oof.
Kentucky is also ranked, so that could be another potential roadblock. Add in 5th overall seed Florida State on the other side of the Super Regional bracket, and you have a really tough road. Although, [insert Jameis Winston crab legs joke here]
Kent State will take on Louisville in the second game of the day, here is tentative schedule:
Game 1: 2-seed Kentucky vs 3-seed Kansas - 2 pm
Game 2: 1-seed Louisville vs 4-seed Kent State - 6 pm
Game 3 - Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 2 - 1 pm (Elimination Game)
Game 4 - Winner Game 1 vs Winner Game 2 - 5 pm
Game 5 - Winner Game 3 vs Loser Game 4 - Noon (Elimination Game)
Game 6 - Winner Game 4 vs Winner Game 5 - 5 pm (Championship Game 1)
Game 7* - Winner Game 6 vs Loser Game 6 - 7 pm (Championship Game 2)*
* if necessary