The thing about the NCAA Tournament selection show is that it can catch you off guard.
“It flashed up on the screen,” said Kent State men’s basketball head coach Rob Senderoff. “I had no idea who we were playing or where we were playing. I just saw our name and I saw all the fans and our players’ reaction and I was just so happy for all of them.”
Senderoff had his moment of realization moments later.
The Golden Flashes are playing in their seventh NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in program history. And for the third time, Kent is paired with Indiana.
The Flashes beat the Hoosiers in the opening round of the 2001 tournament, after fell to Indiana in the Elite Eight in 2002.
RELATED: Kent State men’s basketball seeded No. 13 in NCAA March Madness Tournament, set to play against No. 4 Indiana
“We woke a lot of people up, and I think us playing Indiana is a good challenge for us,” said senior guard Sincere Carry. “I think we’re all ready to shock the world.”
Senderoff can’t believe it.
“How does that keep happen?” Senderoff said. “It is crazy, it really is. They could have put us against any four-seed and in any region.”
It’s most crazy for Senderoff himself. Not only did Kent’s head man spend two seasons on Indiana’s coaching staff 16 years ago, but he went to college in Albany, the site of Friday night’s matchup.
“I have a number of friends that I went to college with, and went to high school with, that are bringing their families to the game,” Senderoff said. “Just like for our players, it’s an awesome experience.”
The familiarity only adds to the anticipation of the Big Dance.
“It’s not like any other game,” he said. “It’s the NCAA’s. It’s what these guys have all dreamt about for their entire lives.”
RELATED: Carry scores 26, Kent State tops Toledo to win MAC tourney
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