Kent State was announced as the Midwest Region’s 13-seed on Selection Sunday, and will face the four-seed Indiana Hoosiers in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament in Albany, New York.
The Hoosiers, currently ranked 19th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, will be a tough opponent for the Golden Flashes, as IU finished with a 12–8 record in the Big Ten in a season that was highlighted by two wins over Big Ten champion Purdue.
Their roster is led by senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who averaged 20.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, earning him first-team all-Big Ten honors. Kent State will have to get big men Cli’Ron Hornbeak, Miryne Thomas and Chris Payton going on defense to keep Jackson-Davis in check.
Indiana freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, who has put up 13.5 points per game this season and won Big Ten Freshman of the Year, will also be a player Kent State will have to watch out for.
The Golden Flashes will almost certainly turn to their star guards if they want to continue their run of success. Sincere Carry is averaging 23.6 points per game over his last five while MAC Defensive Player of the Year Malique Jacobs has compiled nine blocks and nine steals over his last five.
Friday’s meeting between Kent State and Indiana will be the fifth time the two schools have squared off — and the third time in the Tournament. The most recent meeting was in the Elite Eight in 2002 — Kent State’s best season in team history. The Hoosiers ended the Flashes’ Cinderella run on their way to a runner-up finish in the tournament.
The two faced off in the first round in 2001 with Kent State upsetting four-seed Indiana as a 13-seed. The first two times the teams met were November contests in 1985 and 1989 with the Hoosiers winning both.
Although Indiana has a very strong team, Rob Senderoff’s squad has been playing its best basketball of the year and will be playing with a ton of confidence on Friday in Albany.