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No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Kent State: Men’s basketball notes, how to watch, more.

Put a pot of coffee on for this one, folks.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Indiana men’s basketball opens NCAA tournament play today against Kent State, MAC Conference Champs and a popular upset pick for many in sports media. Here’s what you need to know about the game:

Game Notes

As the four seed facing a 13, Indiana is hoping to avoid being on the wrong end of yet another upset in what’s been a wild start to this year’s NCAA tournament. With how mortal Houston looked in its win over Northern Kentucky, the Midwest feels a little more wide open right now, adding some pressure to what is already one of the higher-profile opening round games.

There is some history between Indiana and Kent State’s head coach, Rob Senderoff. Senderoff declined to talk about it in the pregame media availability, instead directing attention to the upcoming matchup, so we will follow suit.

As I wrote earlier this week, lots of people in the media seem to like the Golden Flashes because of their experienced backcourt. This will definitely be a test for the Hoosiers, who have not gotten the most consistency from its relatively young backcourt, led by freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino.

Tamar Bates looked good in Indiana’s last outing against Penn State and also contributed some good minutes against Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament win, which would go a long way in raising Indiana’s ceiling going forward if he can keep it up.

On the other hand, Indiana figures to have a talent and size advantage inside with first team All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis facing off against a front court of guys who are 6’9” or shorter. Other elite bigs, like Drew Timme have had a lot of success against the Golden Flashes this year, which is a good sign for the more athletic Jackson-Davis.

Kenpom favors Indiana by a margin of 73-69, giving it a 64% chance of victory, while Bart Torvik has the same score, but gives Indiana a 66% chance of winning.

When is the game and how can I watch?

Game Date/Time: Friday, Mar. 17 at 9:55p.m. ET

Location: MVP Arena, Albany, New York


Radio: WHCC 105.1 FM & WIUX 99.1 FM

DraftKings Sportsbook Line: Indiana | o/u:

KenPom: Indiana by 4

Game thread

Follow along with the game and share your thoughts below, our Indiana men’s basketball game thread!