(WJW) – The 13th-seeded Kent State Golden Flashes will go head-to-head with the fourth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers for their first game of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Kent State landed the NCAA bid after overcoming Toledo Saturday night, 93-78, to win the Mid-American Conference championship.

This was the Golden Flashes’ first tournament title since 2017.

“We’ve been tough, we have defended, we have competed, we have played off each other,” said Coach Rob Senderoff.

He said he’s proud, excited and the team’s ready to go.

“This is the toughest team I have ever had a chance to coach and now we are going to compete in the NCAA tournament,” said Coach Senderoff. 

Now, Friday’s matchup in Albany, New York will be the first NCAA Tournament 2023 game for both teams.

The winner of that game will play the winner between Miami and Drake in the second round.

Star senior guard Sincere Carry says this opportunity means everything. 

“It’s kind of like a dream come true, but I never thought I’d be here,” said Carry. 

To celebrate, a team dinner and then a watch party were held at Downtown Kent’s Water Street Tavern. 

“Kent State and everything that is good with Kent State is about to be on the national stage. That is because of the hard work of these players and coaches. That’s beautiful for all of us,” said athletic director Randale Richmond.

The Golden Flashes and Hoosiers are tied all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Kent State beat Indiana in the first round in 2001. The Hoosiers beat the Golden Flashes in the Elite 8 in 2002.

Kent State is 4-6 all-time for the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Flashes are also on a four-game NCAA Tournament losing streak. They haven’t won a tourney game since defeating Pitt in overtime during the 2002 Sweet 16.

Also representing Ohio, the third-seeded Xavier Musketeers will face off against Kennesaw State in the first round.