Kent State preps for return to Big Dance

KENT, Ohio (WYTV) – The Kent State Men’s Basketball is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. The Golden Flashes will be facing long odds and will be a long way from home this Friday night when they face UCLA in the first round.

The team was back on the practice floor Monday at the MAC Center on campus, gearing up for their sixth appearance in the Big Dance in program history. In just a couple of days, they’ll head west…over 3,000 miles, and three time zones to Sacramento, California for their first-round game. But they relish the opportunity. Kent State started conference play by losing four of its first five games but then got red-hot in the MAC tournament.

Head Coach Rob Senderoff is making his first appearance as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament.

“Yeah, just really happy for our players,” Senderoff said. “Ya know, the work that they have put in all year. And, some of them, multiple years. To be able to win the MAC Championship, to be able to do it the way we did it, we’ve won nine out of our last ten. We were down at halftime in eight of those ten games. We beat thre 3, 2, and 1 seed, and beat them two weeks prior in the regular season. So, I’m just really proud for our guys and happy for them.”

Sophomore Jaylin Walker was named Most Valuable Player of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, and can’t wait to return to the floor on the big stage.

Jaylin Walker: “It means a lot, ya know. I just can’t explain how I am feeling. Everything is overwhelming right now. I’m just trying to take everything in. Deep breaths, ya know. I’m just ready for Friday, man.”

Kent State and UCLA tipoff Friday night around 10PM. The game will be televised on tru-TV.