Three things to know about IU’s NCAA tournament opponent, Kent State
Indiana will open the 2023 NCAA tournament on 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 the 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 penalty for his involvement in NCAA rules violations.
Senderoff, 49, was an assistant and associate head coach at Kent State from 2008 through 2011 before landing the head coaching position in the spring of 2011.
In 12 seasons at the helm in Kent, Ohio, Senderoff has compiled a 247-146 record. This will be Kent State’s second NCAA tournament appearance under Senderoff. The Golden Flashes last made the field in 2017 and fell 97-80 to UCLA in the round of 64.
A native of Spring Valley, New York – just two hours away 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 against 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 automatic bid and earned a No. 12 seed. Houston, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, is 31-3 and the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament.
Kent State also played at Gonzaga on Dec. 5 and fell 73-66.
The lone loss for Kent State over its last 11 games came at Ball State on Feb. 21. Former IU guard Michael Lewis coaches the Cardinals.
The Golden Flashes are a gritty, defense-first 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 rankings.
The three players who log the most minutes for Kent State – Sincere Carry, Malique Jacobs and Miryne Thomas – are all seniors.
Carry, a 6-foot-1 guard, was an All-MAC first team selection. Jacobs, a 6-foot-3 guard, was named second team All-MAC.
Jacobs was named the MAC defensive player of the year and Carry was named to the league’s all-defensive team.
Carry is Kent State’s leading scorer at 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 at 13 points per game and his 2.6 steals per game rank sixth in the country.
Kent State is 20th nationally in defensive turnover percentage and is forcing a turnover on 22.6 percent of possessions. The Golden Flashes rank 261st nationally in defensive rebounding percentage and 325th in opponent free throw rate (FTA/FGA).
Its opponents are shooting just 30.9 percent on 3s and 47.8 percent on 2s.
In terms of experience, Kent State is the 60th most-experienced team in the country according to Pomeroy. Size, however, is a deficiency as the Golden Flashes rank just 345th in average height, according to KenPom.