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2011 College Basketball Marathon: Kent State Open Season Against West Virginia

Kent State begins their 2011-12 NCAA college basketball season with a trip to Morgantown to face West Virginia

Hope you like a little college basketball with your eggs and bacon.  ESPN's 24-hour college basketball marathon is underway with a couple of area teams getting some major play.  The highlight, of course, is tonight's game between the Ohio St. Buckeyes and Florida Gators, but Kent St. gets their season underway with an early morning showdown with West Virginia.

The Golden Flashes are coming off a 2010-11 campaign in which they claimed their second straight Mid-American Conference regular season title and an appearance in the NIT quarterfinals. The team finished 25-12 overall and is the only program in the country that returns three of it's conference's major award winners in 2011-12.

As for the Mountaineers, their season got off on the right foot as they posted a 78-71 win over Oral Roberts on Friday. WVU has now recorded 36 consecutive home non-conference wins, a program record, and is 55-2 at home versus such opponents over the last nine seasons.

The two teams have faced each other just once before with the Mountaineers notching a 65-54 win in the first round of the 2004 NIT.

The Golden Flashes are set up for big things this season as they follow the lead set by Justin Greene, the 2010-11 MAC Player of the Year who averaged 15.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.4 bpg. A starter in all but one of the team's games, Greene shot a sold 47.8 percent from the floor and was a constant at the free- throw line where he converted 70.9 percent of his attempts.

Carlton Guyton, last year's MAC Sixth-Man of the Year, was a serious threat from three-point range at 40.1 percent as he put up 12.4 ppg, while Michael Porrini (10.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 160 assists) is the MAC's reigning Defensive Player of the Year after posting 65 steals. Randal Holt (9.9 ppg) is also capable of hitting the perimeter shot for KSU, connecting on a team-best 66 triples last year, but he ended up shooting just 38.8 percent from the floor overall. 

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.