‘Send(er)-off’ to the dance: Men’s basketball heads to March Madness tournament


Matthew Brown

Men’s basketball coach Rob Senderoff smiles at the gathered crowd as he heads down to the buses from the MAAC as the team heads to New York for the NCAA tournament March 15, 2023.

Jacob Hansen, Sports Editor

A crowd of around 40 fans waited for the men’s basketball team – now Mid-American Conference champions – to head to the bus departing for the NCAA March Madness tournament Wednesday.

People surrounded the outside of the M.A.C. Center, clapping and cheering on the Flashes as they walked down the stairs.

Sophomore economics major Colin Parsons rushed over to see the send-off.

“I saw the advertisement on Twitter last night, and I was like, ‘Man I get out of class right before this,’” Parsons said. “So I figured why not swing back and see what’s up?”

Kent State senior forward Chris Payton smiles and waves to the crowd as the team heads to the bus leaving for New York March 15, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

As students cheered and shouted players’ names, coach Rob Senderoff and players smiled and waved back to the fans.

The team has not qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2017.

Junior digital media production major Kohen Foster was excited to see and experience all of the attention Kent State has received from the win.

“I think it’s pretty cool that they made it this far, and it’s always something that you hear about in the news and stuff,” Foster said. “It’s just more of a big deal, feeling like, ‘Oh, this is my school. I represent these people who are now being recognized nationwide.’”

Kent State DMP junior Kohen Foster speaks on his thoughts about the basketball team making it to the NCAA tournament March 15, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

Kent State nearly made the NCAA tournament last year but lost to Akron 75-55 in the Mid-American Conference championship last year.

“Losing to them, I got some friends who go to that school and were talking sh*t with us, so when we won I made sure they heard about it.” Parsons said. “I figured I could probably get some friends together and try to watch some of the games just for support.”

The team walked down the stairs to the sound of the buses honking its horns and headed off to Albany, New York. Kent State (28-6) will play Indiana (22-11) at approximately 9:55 p.m. Friday.

“In the scope of national sports, we’re a little smaller compared to the Ohio States, and Georgias,” Parsons said. “So whenever you can get a school like this, you hope to make some noise, and it will be really cool.”

Jacob Hansen is sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]