KENT, Ohio-- It has been quite a week on the campus of Kent State University.
“The energy is awesome. Everybody is talking about it. You go to one class and everybody is talking about it; you go to another and your professors are talking about it,” said Brian Priore, a Kent State freshman.
The Golden Flashes are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.
“It is really exciting. I was just talking to my roommate yesterday and we didn’t realize how big it was and then we saw they were playing UCLA and I was like I didn’t even realize Kent was that big,” said freshman Alexis Brunoni.
Kent State is a 14-seed and will face 3-seed UCLA; both teams have won 9 of their last 10 games.
“I’ve been at Kent for 2 years but I don’t recall them ever making a jump that big before,” said sophomore Sarah Lebasseur.
The university bookstore has been a busy place this week. Students are getting their hands on the MAC Champion and March Madness T-Shirts which arrived on Tuesday.
“Exciting, I mean it has just been great, putting shirts on people’s back, you know, trying to get them to decide which one they want the championship shirt or the MAC,” said Patrick Duff, general manager of the Kent State University bookstore. “It’s been great.”
Kent will be 2,300 miles from home when they take the court on Friday in Sacramento, California, but home is where the hype will be as the university is planning a watch party on campus in the Hub.
“I think the team is going to try their best; they are going to put out their best. It’s been 9 years,” said freshman Adrianna Scopilliti.
Kent State is huge underdogs on Friday to UCLA, 18-point underdogs to be exact, but most people on campus are giving the Golden Flashes a shot at pulling the upset.
“Looking forward to seeing these guys go out west and make a statement,” Duff said. “Kent all the way for sure, 64-48,” said Brunoni.
“Kent State 64, UCLA 61, Jaylin Walker hits a game-winning three,” added Priore. “I think Kent State is going to win their first game; my family is not as faithful as I am,” Lebasseur said.
Friday’s game against UCLA will tip off just before 10:00 p.m.