MAC Championship Preview: Kent State VS. Toledo

Written by on March 12, 2023

For the second year in a row, Kent State Men’s basketball team was playing their rival the Akron Zips in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament, but this time it was in the semifinal and not in the championship like how it was last season. 

Another difference between the different tournament matchups is that this year’s tournament saw Kent State pull away with a 79-73 win over their rival. It was the second time Kent State has beaten Akron this season with the last being a week prior at Kent in the overtime win. 

The two best players in the game for the Golden Flashes were Sincere Carry and Miryne Thomas. Carry finished the game with 21 points and Thomas finished the game with 24 points in the win. 

For Malique Jacobs this game was important because of what happened last season when the two teams matched up in the championship he was suspended for the first half because of a social media video and Kent State ended up losing, Jacobs after the win on Thursday said that what happened last season is a motivator for him. 

Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff said after the game he does not really think it matters that it was Akron they beat, it could have been whoever they beat to get to the championship, he continued to say that getting there is hard enough. 

Senderoff said they are going to be ready to play today against Toledo and the reason if they don’t play well, will not be because they beat Akron yesterday it will be because Toledo played better. 

Toledo came into this year’s tournament as the number-one seed in the tournament, finishing with the same overall record as Kent State with both finishing 27-6, but Toledo had a better conference record as Toledo finished with a 16-2 conference record. Kent State finished with a 15-3 conference record. 

Toledo is currently on a 17-game winning streak, having beaten Miami (OH) in the first round on Thursday and in the second round beat Ohio University. 

Toledo’s last loss came up against the Golden Flashes on January 10th. With Kent State winning by a final score of 75-63, the game was played at Kent. 

Kent State’s best players in that game were Carry and Thomas, both finished with more than 20 points in the win over the Rockets. Jacobs put up 16 points of his own and along with 13 rebounds for the Flashes. 

This will be the second matchup of the two teams and will be the biggest game of the season for both with the winner advancing to the NCAA tournament which will start next Tuesday, the projections for the winner of the MAC can be either a 13th seed or a 14th seed. 

When Ohio won the MAC in 2021 they beat defending champion, the Virginia Cavaliers proving despite what seed a MAC team may be, anything can happen in March. 

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