SIMPSON WINS SIXTH MAN AWARD - Anthony Simpson was named the MAC Sixth Man of the Year on Tuesday. Simpson averaged 8.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. KSU is 13-0 when he scores in double figures. "Anthony is an easy choice for the award, we were undefeated when he scored in double figures so his impact with our team is clear," said Kent State head Coach Geno Ford. "Unselfishly he volunteered to come off the bench this season and consistently provide us a lift every time he stepped on the court. This is a well deserved honor for him."
Simpson is the second Kent State player to earn Sixth Man of the Year honors joining Kevin Warzynski who won in 2006.
In other awards announced Tuesday, Akron's Jimmy Conyers was named Defensive Player of the Year while Ohio's D.J. Cooper was named Freshman of the Year.
FORD FOR MVP? On Monday men's basketball coach Geno Ford was named MAC Coach of the Year. Kent State gets a lot of contributions from a lot of players but Ford and his staff are the ones that put all those pieces of the puzzle together. Stephanie Storm has the story.
SINGLETARY PROFILE - The Daily Kent Stater staff sat down with senior Chris Singletary. Check it out here.
ANOTHER BATTLE WITH THE BOBCATS - Kent State will take on Ohio for the third time this season on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Kent State swept the regular season series with Ohio this season, but it wasn't easy. Kent State won a two point game in Athens and a seven point game in Kent in which they trailed by double digits in the second half. Ohio is playing their best basketball of the season, winning nine of their last 14 and four of their last five. They overcame a nine point deficit on Sunday at Ball State to advance to Cleveland. "I couldn't be more proud of our guys," coach John Groce said. "Every coach's goal is to be playing its best basketball at this time of the year. We've weathered some things. For most of the year, I've been hard on them to mature and to value possessions. We've finished close games a lot better lately."
Groce and his players are looking forward to another meeting with the Golden Flashes.
"I have a great deal of respect for Kent State," Groce said. "We've had two really hard fought games with them and our guys have a great deal of respect for Kent State and are really looking forward to competing against them and the challenge of playing them for a third time on Thursday night." It isn't a fun matchup for Kent State when you have guards like D.J. Cooper and Armon Bassett running around making plays everywhere. "Matching up with Ohio is a concern because quite frankly they had a shot to beat us at their place," Ford said. "They are more than capable of beating us and winning the whole thing."
VS. OHIO IN THE MAC TOURNAMENT - Kent State is 4-3 against Ohio all time at the MAC tournament. The last time they played was on March 10, 2006 when the Flashes beat the Bobcats 72-59 in the semifinals on their way to capturing the championship. Kent State is 2-2 in Cleveland against Ohio.
UNSELFISHNESS PLUS DEPTH MAKES FOR GOOD CHEMISTRY FOR FLASHES - Kent State has used a formula of unselfish play combined with depth to go along with good chemistry to have a special season. "I think that our kids have been really unselfish and that's why we've won," Ford continued. "We've been pretty deep this year going into the bench. Some nights guys get a lot of shots, other nights they don't. We haven't had to deal with really any chemistry problems throughout the season and that's why we had a good year."
NOT MUCH AT LARGE BUZZ - Coach Ford continues to speak out on some of his frustrations and disappointment with there not being much talk of his team being an at large candidate should they not cut down the nets at The Q. "It's been somewhat frustrating to watch the ESPN shows where they're talking about teams...It's discouraging and a little disappointing from the stand point of, If having an RPI of 42 and a non-conference strength of schedule of 20 is not enough, then tell me what is. I don't know what else we really could have done. We've had as good a year as what we could have." For Kent State to get in, it will most likely take a win on Saturday night. "Coach Coles had a great quote," Ford said. "Everybody shows up for dinner in Cleveland and there's one piece of chicken that we all got to fight for."
LAING ON HIS WAY - You would think having your athletic director on the NCAA selection committee could help Kent State's chances. That isn't really the case. Kennedy isn't allowed to speak about the Mid-American Conference and has to leave the room when and if Kent State is discussed. Speaking of Kennedy, he leaves today for Indianapolis to start the process of selecting the NCAA teams. He will be sequestered until selection Sunday. Kennedy will be in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center for the first two rounds of the tournament before traveling to St. Louis for the regional before being in Indianapolis for the Final Four.
WINNING IT FOR LAING - It had to be a special moment for Ford and his staff along with his players to send Kennedy out with a regular season championship in his last year. Kennedy will retire at the end of the academic year. "All of our kids really wanted to win it for Mr. Kennedy," Ford said. "That was brought up by a player in team meetings earlier in the year. When we were 1-2, and we were looking like we were being pronounced dead on the scene, we had a pretty good meeting. We try not to have a ton of meetings. We had a good meeting and that was said by one of our players, that it was Mr. Kennedy's last year and we really needed him to go out on the right note."
WOMEN TAKE ON CENTRAL MICHIGAN - Bob Lindsay's women squad will take on number six seed Central Michigan on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal game. The Flashes beat the Chippewas 82-76 back on January 27 at the M.A.C. Center in Kent. The Daily Kent Stater is previewing the women's tournament with a profile on Jamilah Humes and Taisja Jones. Humes was named first team All-MAC while Jones was named third team All-MAC on Tuesday.