Men’s basketball looking for first MAC Tournament Championship since 2017

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Matthew Brown

Kent Sate redshirt senior Justyn Hamilton leaps for a slam dunk during the game on March 3, 2022.

Jacob Hansen, Reporter

The Kent State basketball team looks to take home the MAC tournament title after ending the regular season on a 12-game win streak. 

Kent State holds the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will take on Miami University on Thursday. Tipoff will be at approximately 4:00 p.m., taking place 30 minutes after the second MAC tournament game (Information on tournament found here).

“That’s the beauty of March Madness, watching this unfold and being able to be a part of it,”  head coach Rob Senderoff said. “We are one of the teams that gets to go up to Cleveland, we get to be the two seed, and we will try and represent the program and the university the best we can up there.”

The team’s 12-game winning streak is the fourth longest active streak in the country. 

“We were just trying to win a game,” Senderoff said. “The last time we lost was at Buffalo, we won two straight prior to Buffalo. That’s what we talked about after the game, we have to win three in a row, if you can’t win three in a row, you can’t go to the NCAA tournament.” 

After beating Buffalo on Friday, Kent State has now beaten every team in the Mid-American Conference at least once, including a season sweep over Toledo, the MAC regular season champions. 

“It is an unbelievable achievement to win the regular season,” Senderoff said. “But in this league, there is one team to represent the conference in the NCAA tournament and just because you get to wear home jerseys three nights in a row if you win your games doesn’t mean you get to represent our league.”

 The winner of the MAC tournament will punch their ticket to the famous March Madness NCAA tournament. KSU has won the MAC tournament six times.

Kent State hasn’t won the MAC tournament since 2017, when the Flashes beat Akron University 70-65. 

The last time Kent State won a game in the NCAA tournament was 2002, where the team made it all the way to the Elite Eight. 

The Flashes have made the NCAA tournament 10 times and hold a record of 4-6 in the tournament. 

KSU finished with a 21-9 record overall and a 16-4 record in the MAC. Kent State joins seven other teams that haven’t had a losing record this century. Notable teams on the list include Gonzaga and Duke.

“Now we will talk about what we have to do up in Cleveland,” Senderoff said. “If we can maintain the level of spirit and toughness and togetherness up there, we certainly believe we can beat anyone, but we also know that if we are not playing well, we can lose to anyone. So we will go up there confident, but we need to be humble and hungry.”

The MAC tournament will be held at the Cleveland Cavaliers home arena, the Rocket Mortgage Field House from March 10 to March 12.

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]