The Kent St. Golden Flashes(25-11) are piling up the frequent flier miles in the 2011 NIT Tournament. First, it was a trip to California to play St. Mary's in the first. round. Then, on Sunday, the Flashes traveled to Connecticut to take on Fairfield in Round 2. The Flashes won both games, becoming the first team to win two road games in the NIT since 2005. Can they make it three straight when they take on the Colorado Buffaloes(23-13) in Boulder tonight?
Unlike Kent State, the Buffs have enjoyed the luxury of playing at home, and in front of a favorable crowd Colorado took down Texas Southern and recently California. This is the first NIT appearance for Colorado since the 2005-06 campaign and with the two wins the Buffs are a solid 10-7 in this event.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Kent State and Colorado on the hardwood.
Kent State put forth a fantastic effort in its last game, as the Golden Flashes took on Fairfield and a hostile crowd and turned in an impressive 40 minutes of basketball that led to a four-point win. The Golden Flashes shot 50.0 percent in the contest and finished 8-of-19 from long range. Kent State won the battle in the paint by a 38-28 scoring margin, and also found 18 points off 12 Fairfield turnovers. Randal Holt, who is averaging just 9.9 ppg on the season led the way with 22 points, while Carlton Guyton (12.6) tallied 16 points. Michael Porrini and Justin Manns helped out with 11 and 10 points, respectively. What made the win even more impressive was the fact that the team's leading scorer and rebounder Justin Greene (15.3 ppg and 8.4 rpg) was held to just eight points and eight boards.
Once again the Buffaloes used their offensive firepower to post a victory, as they scored 89 points in a win over California. Colorado, which is averaging 80.1 points per matchup, shot 45.6 percent in the victory and finished 9-of-20 from behind the arc. Alex Burks, who is leading the team on the season with 20.4 ppg and 6.4 rpg, poured in 25 points against the Golden Bears, but he was not the only player that joined in on the fun. Cory Higgins, who is netting 16.2 ppg on the year, added 22 points for Colorado, while Levi Knutson chipped in 10 points off the bench.
Kent State could pose a problem for Colorado because the Golden Flashes are tough defensively, but all the traveling could finally wear on them. Look for Colorado to get the victory, and punch its ticket to New York. The game can be seen on ESPN at 9PM et.