Team preview: Kent State

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

They did it again. For the seventh straight year, Kent State won 20 games and received a postseason tournament bid. Yet as the season was winding down, coach Jim Christian must have wondered, "Where's the love?"

The Golden Flashes eliminated Central Michigan, 91-60, in the first round of the MAC Tournament on March 7 for win No. 20.

"This is the most under-appreciated team we've had in the seven-year run," said Christian, who was courted by UMass after the season. "If you look at every mid-major that wins 20 games this year, see how many do it with six new players?"

A streak that includes Gary Waters (now at Rutgers), Stan Heath (now at Arkansas), and currently Christian (63-31) has produced 164 wins (23.4 per season average) and seven straight postseason berths (three NCAA and four NIT). Heath's one season (2002) resulted in the memorable trip to the NCAA Elite Eight and a 30-6 finish.

"People do take it for granted," said Christian, under contract through 2011-12. "And they expect great things every night."

Kent State is one of 12 NCAA Division I schools to have 20 or more wins in each of the last seven seasons. It's a string of success unprecedented in MAC history.

"I don't want anyone to lose sight of how special our run is," Christian said. "We instill that tradition in all of our players coming into the program. We have high expectations that we place on ourselves."