Indiana will open the 2023 NCAA Tournament Friday night at 9:55 PM ET against Kent State at the MVP Arena in Albany, New York.
The Golden Flashes are 28-6 and earned the 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 the Golden Flashes
Rob Sendrov was an assistant coach at Indiana under Kelvin Sampson. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers and Senderoff, his tenure at Bloomington ended with a 30-month fine for participating in NCAA rule violations.
Senderoff, 49, was an assistant coach at Kent State from 2008 through 2011 before taking over as head coach in the spring of 2011.
In 12 seasons at the helm in Kent, Ohio, Senderoff has compiled a record of 247-146. This will be Kent State’s second NCAA Tournament appearance under Senderoff. The Golden Flashes last hit the court in 2017 and fell 97-80 to UCLA in the Round of 64.
A native of Spring Valley, New York — just two hours from Albany — Sandrov graduated from the University of Albany in 1995.
Kent State was battle tested
Senderoff scheduled strongly in the non-conference and played four games against teams in the 2023 NCAA tournament before mid-December.
The Golden Flashes opened the season with a 22-point victory 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 in Charleston and 49-44 in Houston.
Charleston won the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic bid and was ranked No. 12. Houston, the top seed in the Midwest region, is 31-3 and the second seed in the tournament.
Kent State also played Gonzaga on December 5 and fell 73-66.
Kent State’s lone loss came during their last 11 games at Ball State Stadium on February 21. Michael Lewis was a former NFL guard, who coaches the Cardinals.
The Golden Flashes is a brave defense team with experience
The Kent State defense is ranked in the top 40 nationally, according to KenPom.
According to Pomeroy ratings, the Golden Flashes are ranked 38th nationally in modified defensive efficiency. Indiana ranks 43rd defensively in the same standings.
The three players who have scored 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 the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Curry was named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.
Curry is the leading scorer for Kent State with 17.2 points per game and also leads the Golden Flashes with 4.6 assists per game. Jacobs is second on the team in scoring with 13 points per game and 2.6 steals per game and ranks sixth in the country.
Kent State ranks twentieth nationally in defensive turnover percentage and forces turnovers on 22.6 percent of possessions. The Golden Flashes are 261st nationally in defensive rebound percentage and 325th in opponent free throw average (FTA/FGA).
Its opponents fire only 30.9 percent in 3 seconds and 47.8 percent in 2 seconds.
In terms of experience, Kent State ranks as the 60th most experienced team in the country according to Pomeroy. However, size is a shortcoming as golden flashes only rank 345th in average length, according to KenPom.
Recorded: 2023 NCAA Tournament, Kent State Golden Flashes, Rob Senderoff
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