NCAA basketball tournament has begun as the 13 seed Golden Flash will take on the 4th seed Hoosiers. This is the first round of the NCAA tournament which will take place in Albany, New York in the Midwest bracket. Can the Hoosiers avoid the first-round upset or will cinderella be dancing in her slippers?
Kent State enters the tournament with a record of 28-6 and only 3 losses in their conference. Better yet, the Golden Flash only have 1 loss in their last 10 games. They have the ability to put up points and they are led by Senior guard Sincere Carry. Kent State is going to have to score in this one to win, but the bigger question is on defense.
How do you stop Trayce Jackson-Davis? That is the question that head coach with former Hoosier ties Rob Senderoff has been asking himself. It has to be the same blueprint other Big Ten teams have used. Double team, double team, and more doubles. If Kent State can’t stop Trayce then they’ll be heading back to the Buckeye state with a first-round exit?
The quest for the 6th banner in Assembly Hall starts with a 4th rd seed and the Hoosiers relatively healthy. Xavier Johnson has been absent from an ankle injury from the team for most of the year. The Hoosiers have shown the ability to beat anyone (Purdue twice) and lose to anyone (0-4 Northwestern and Penn State). With All-American TJD, the Hoosiers have the answer for a deep tourney run.
When the Hoosiers are playing their best, it’s with a high pick-n-roll and post feed to TJD or a pull-up jumper by Jalen Hood-Shifino. The offense has had moments of being stagnant and that has caused sustained periods of scoring droughts. The Hoosiers have to avoid that if they don’t want to be upset in round 1. They have the talent to win this game easily.
This is the first time these teams have met this year and it’s not very often the Big Ten and MAC clash. This is an opportunity for the smaller conference to show what kind of product they are able to produce. Will they?
In this matchup, I’m taking the Hoosiers to cover the 4.5. I don’t think anyone for Kent State can guard the athleticism and strength of TJD. If they are able to, IU has enough with Galloway, and Hood-Shifino can carry enough of the scoring load. Give me the Hoosiers.
The over/under is sitting at 140.5. High for a college game. Give me the under. Opening games can be about nerves and poor shooting and execution. That typically leads to lower scoring. I would take the under in this.
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