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NCAA Midwest: Indiana vs Kent State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks

Hoosiers Hoping to Dodge the Flashes

Friday’s slate of NCAA Tournament games is creating a lot of buzz. Several games stand out as potential upsets. No. 4 Indiana (22-11) vs. No. 13 Kent State (28-6) is one of the most popular upset picks. Since 2018, five No. 13 seeds have won in the Round of 64. Are the Golden Flashes next in line?

NCAA basketball odds have the Hoosiers favored by four points, which is the smallest spread among the 4-13 matchups. Indiana is 2-2 and 1-3 against the spread over the last four games, while Kent State is riding a six-game win streak. Before making our March Madness betting predictions, let’s look at why the Hoosiers are on upset alert.

Indiana vs Kent State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks
Indiana vs Kent State Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks

Hoosiers Need Improved Guard Play

College basketball lines give Indiana a favorable chance of making the Sweet 16 at +135. This is higher than the Hoosiers’ biggest threat, Miami at +190. So why is Indiana in trouble?

First off, the Hoosiers have allowed four consecutive opponents to make at least eight 3-pointers. This is a weak perimeter defense, ranking outside the top 200 in allowed attempted and made 3-pointers per game. Kent State has made at least nine 3-pointers in back-to-back games. Believe it or not, Indiana has the weaker defense in this matchup. It is 43rd in efficiency, compared to the Golden Flashes at 38. In the last six tournaments, the team with the better defense won more than 70% of first-round games.

Perhaps the biggest concern is in the backcourt. The Hoosiers’ guards could be outmatched in this one. Freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino (13.5 points) remains a wild card with streaky play. He has scored fewer than 14 points in three of the last four while shooting less than 31% in two games. This is not a reach by NCAA odds: Indiana is in trouble.

Kent State’s Electric Backcourt

Continuing with backcourt play, Kent State matches up well against the Hoosiers. Malique Jacobs (13 points, 2.7 steals) was the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Jacobs will be tasked with slowing Hood-Schifino, who averages nearly three turnovers per game. The Golden Flashes’ pesky defensive guard should be able to pressure Hood-Schifino.

Furthermore, Sincere Carry (17.6 points) will likely be the top guard on the floor. He is averaging 23.8 points over the last five games, including two with at least 26 points. However, Indiana ranks 23rd in opponent two-point percentage and averages 4.9 blocks (15th). Carry could have problems scoring in the paint. Overall, Kent State should have the backcourt advantage, which fares well for covering various sports bets.

Stopping Indiana’s forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (20.8 points, 10.9 rebounds) will be a tall task. The first-team All-American will be the best player on the floor, and he’s averaging 25.3 points in the last four. The Flashes are 71st in allowed two-point percentage. More than likely, Jackson-Davis will put up monster numbers, while Kent State will focus on shutting down his counterparts.

Indiana vs Kent State Game Injuries

Indiana vs Kent State Head-to-Head

Indiana and Kent State have met on four occasions. The Hoosiers are 3-1 in the matchup with the sole loss coming in the 2000-01 season.

Indiana vs Kent State Game Information

  • Game: Indiana (22-11) vs Kent State (28-6)
  • Location: MVP Arena, Albany, N.Y.
  • Day/Time: Friday, March 17, 9:55 p.m. ET
  • Indiana vs Kent State Live stream: TBS.com

Indiana vs Kent State Betting Lines

Indiana vs Kent State Picks and Prediction

Per college basketball odds, Kent State is +525 to make the Sweet 16, which is quite low for a No. 13 seed. Perhaps the primary reason is the MAC’s success in March Madness. Akron nearly knocked off No. 4 UCLA last year. Ohio took down No. 4 Virginia in 2021. Buffalo was a force from 2018-19, including a win over No. 4 Arizona in 2018.

In 4-13 matchups, the MAC competed in three consecutive games, winning twice. The Golden Flashes will repeat history. They force 15.7 turnovers per game (19th), which could be a problem for Indiana’s shaky guards. Jackson-Davis cannot win this by himself. The Hoosiers’ supporting cast has been far too inconsistent. Take Kent State on the moneyline.

Indiana is listed at -185in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Hoosiers, you have a chance to win $54. Kent State is +160, offering a chance to win $160 on a $100 wager.

The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Indiana a 64.91% chance to win, with the Golden Flashes at 38.46%.

March Madness 2023 First Round
March Madness 2023 First Round

Indiana vs Kent State Edge

Indiana vs Kent State Results

Indiana vs Kent State Game Summary

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