This is the fourth in our series of posts that “preview” notable NCAA Tournament games in Indiana’s storied history. These are companion posts for our live rewatch series that we are doing in place of the cancelled 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Today, we will preview the Elite 8 matchup of the 2002 NCAA Tournament — the game after Indiana’s epic comeback against Duke: Indiana, the #5 seed in the South Region, against Kent State, the #10 seed in the South Region.
The live rewatch and postgame show for the IU-Kent State game takes place on Sunday, March 29th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. (Click here to access the YouTube replay of the game.)
Breaking down the matchup:
Indiana (23-11) vs. Kent State (30-5)
- Indiana- Mike Davis (2nd season)
- Oklahoma- Stan Heath (1st season)
Indiana lost to Kent State during the opening round of the previous year’s tournament in 2001, 77-73.
Indiana probable starters:
- G. Dane Fife (Sr.)
- G. Tom Coverdale (Jr.)
- G. Kyle Hornsby (Jr.)
- F. Jared Jeffries (Soph.)
- F. Jarrad Odle (Sr.)
Kent State probable starters:
- G. Andrew Mitchell (Sr.)
- G. Demetric Shaw (Sr.)
- F. Trevor Huffman (Sr.)
- F. Eric Thomas (Sr.)
- F. Antonio Gates (Jr.)
Indiana game notes:
The Hoosiers finished tied for first in Big Ten play, clinching their first conference championship since 1993. Entering today’s game, Indiana is riding a wave of emotion after taking down #1 seed Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night, 74-73.
In their first two round matchups, IU defeated Utah (75-56) and UNC-Wilmington (76-67). Should Indiana defeat Kent State, the Hoosiers would reach their first NCAA Final Four in 10 years.
Kent State game notes:
Stan Heath’s first season at Kent State has been nothing but memorable as their 30-win season is the highest mark in school history. The Golden Flashes took care of business in the Mid-American Conference going 17-1 overall.
NCAA Tournament victories over Oklahoma State (69-61), Alabama (71-58), and Pittsburgh (78-73) have led Kent State to their first ever Elite Eight appearance.
What to expect — Indiana:
Indiana is led by Big Ten Player of the Year Jared Jeffries, and his inside-outside scoring threat will cause matchup problems for the undersized Golden Flashes, who must also watch for kickouts to Kyle Hornsby and Tom Coverdale, both of which can get hot from downtown.
The Hoosiers committed 23 turnovers against Duke. A repeat of this could drastically hinder Indiana’s chances to reach Atlanta.
Defensively, Indiana must deny Trevor Huffman’s looks early, while also not forgetting about interior scorer Antonio Gates who scored 22 points in Kent State’s win Thursday over Pitt.
What to expect — Kent State:
The Golden Flashes are not the deepest team in the field, so keeping their starters out of foul trouble will be key.
Antonio Gates may be undersized, but has the ability to create his own shots around the rim making him a threat. Trevor Huffman and Andrew Mitchell are both capable shooters, but have lacked consistency at times during the season.
Indiana’s interior size poses challenges to Kent State, but this is a hurdle that Stan Heath has been able to work around all season.
If you want to know the result of the game and see the box score, click here.