January 24, 2006 5:33 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
Tonight, the Buckeye State Bloodbath begins: the top four pair off, an undefeated and a one-loss in both Athens and Oxford (we'd go with Akron at Ohio here, but it's a fair/balanced thing - I've blabbed up the Zips over at ESPN a lot lately). After a couple of listless years at Kent, the last mid-major to go Elite Eight has experienced a resurgence this year, going 12-5 and winning all six games against the West. They have the most efficient defense in the MAC (.92 points per poss. defense) and athletic swingdude Jay Youngblood (15.5 ppg). The Redhawks (9-6 overall) play at a slow, grinding pace (league-low 63.3 poss. per 40 min.) and are a three-headed monster. The Flashes look better on paper, but as we learned last night with Utah State's win over Nevada, previous G!O!T!N! experience is everything. Kent is 1-0 so far under the white-hot spotlight, and Miami is 0-1.
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