Indiana will open the 2023 NCAA Tournament Friday night at 9:55 p.m. ET against Kent State at MVP Arena in Albany, New York.
The Golden Flashes are 28-6 and earned a No. 13 seed after winning the MAC Tournament Final against Toledo on March 11.
Here are three things to know about Kent State:
Former IU assistant coach Rob Senderoff leads Golden Flashes
Rob Senderoff was an assistant coach at Indiana under Kelvin Sampson. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers and Senderoff, his tenure in Bloomington ended with a 30-month show cause sentence for his involvement in NCAA rule violations.
Senderoff, 49, was an assistant and associate head coach at Kent State from 2008 to 2011 before landing the head coaching job in the spring of 2011.
In 12 seasons at the helm of Kent, Ohio, Senderoff compiled a 247-146 record. This will be Kent State’s second appearance in an NCAA tournament under Senderoff. The Golden Flashes last entered the court in 2017 and lost 97-80 to UCLA in the Round of 16.
A native of Spring Valley, New York — just two hours from Albany — Sanderoff graduated from the University of Albany in 1995.
Kent State is battle tested
Senderoff scheduled aggressively in the non-conference and played four games against teams in the 2023 NCAA Tournament field before mid-December.
The Golden Flashes opened the season with a 22-point win over Northern Kentucky, the Horizon League Tournament champion and No. 16 seed in the Midwest Region.
In back-to-back games in late November, Kent State lost 74-72 at Charleston and 49-44 at Houston.
Charleston won the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic auction and was seeded No. 12. Houston, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, is 31-3 and the No. No. 2 in the tournament.
Kent State also played Gonzaga on Dec. 5 and lost 73-66.
Kent State’s only loss in its last 11 games came at Ball State on Feb. 21. Former IU guard Michael Lewis coaches the Cardinals.
The Golden Flashes are a spunky, defense-focused team with experience
Kent State’s defense is ranked in the top 40 nationally, according to KenPom.
According to Pomeroy’s rankings, the Golden Flashes are ranked 38th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. Indiana is 43rd defensively in the same standings.
The three players with the most minutes for Kent State – Sincere Carry, Malique Jacobs and Miryne Thomas – are all seniors.
Carry, a 6-foot-1 guard, was a first-team All-MAC selection. Jacobs, a 6-foot-3 guard, was named second-team All-MAC.
Jacobs was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Carry was named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.
Carry is Kent State’s leading scorer with 17.2 points per game and also leads the Golden Flashes with 4.6 assists per game. Jacobs is second on the team with 13 points per game and his 2.6 steals per game ranks sixth in the nation.
Kent State is 20th nationally in defensive turnover percentage and forces a turnover on 22.6% of possessions. The Golden Flashes rank 261st nationally in defensive rebound percentage and 325th in opponent’s free throw rate (FTA/FGA).
His opponents only shoot 30.9% over 3s and 47.8% over 2s.
In terms of experience, Kent State is the 60th most experienced team in the nation according to Pomeroy. Height, however, is a shortcoming as Golden Flashes only rank 345th in average height, according to KenPom.
Filed in: 2023 NCAA Tournament, Kent State Golden Flashes, Rob Senderoff