Team preview: Kent State

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 5:09 PM ET
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COACH AND PROGRAM

Can you say dynasty?

In a conference fraught with parity, Kent State basketball has enjoyed what now must be called a Mid-American Conference dynasty.

The Golden Flashes have won 144 games the last six seasons, including a MAC-record six consecutive 20-win seasons, three NCAA Tournament berths and three NIT appearances. The crowning achievement was the Elite Eight in 2002.

Gary Waters was the architect. Stan Heath kept both hands on the wheel, and guided Kent State to a stunning 30-6 season in 2002. Jim Christian has had the toughest task.

He has had to follow that kind of success. And to his credit, the program has maintained a high level, winning 44 games in two seasons and reaching the MAC Tournament championship game twice.

You also have to give credit to Kent State's athletic director Laing Kennedy, who has seemingly pushed all the right buttons. The Flashes had never appeared in the NCAA's Big Dance before 1999.

Naturally, the question becomes: Can they do it again?

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