SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team (20-12) learned Saturday evening that it will battle the Kent State Golden Flashes (21-11) in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Thursday night (Mar. 15) at 7 p.m. inside the Hodge Center.
Ticket prices for the event have been set at $15 for reserved seating and $20 for VIP (Courtside) seating. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here, or by visiting the athletic department offices. For more ticket information, please call 864-503-5865.
Doors to the Hodge Center will open at 5:30 p.m. and there will be special give-a-ways for ticket holders. Prior to the event there will be a DJ and fans are encouraged to grab a hot dog or hamburger off the grill before entering the Hodge Center.
With 20 wins on the season, the Spartans tied their win total from the previous season (9, 2008-09; 6, 2009-10; 5, 2010-11). The 20-win campaign also gave head coach Eddie Payne 400 career victories as the Spartans defeated Stetson, 90-72, in the regular-season finale.
The Spartans claimed three of the four major A-Sun awards (as voted upon by the league's head coaches). Head Coach Eddie Payne was the Coach of the Year, Torrey Craig (Great Falls, S.C.) was named Player of the Year and Ty Greene (Knoxville, Tenn.) was named the league's Freshman of the Year.
The post-season appearance will be the first for the Spartans since dropping a triple-overtime contest to Columbus State in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional (L, 88-90, Mar. 11, 2005 [Richmond, Va.]). With a victory over Kent State, the Spartans would pick up their first victory in the month of March since claiming the Peach Belt Conference tournament title Mar. 5, 2005 (W, 73-49, Armstrong Atlantic State [Greenwood, S.C.]).
Kent State advanced to the second round of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. The Golden Flashes defeated Western Michigan in their first game of the tournament (W, 76-72, 3/8/12), before falling to Akron in the semifinals (L, 74-78, 3/9/12).
The Spartans and the Golden Flashes have one common opponent from the 2011-12 campaign, Toledo. Upstate fell to the Rockets, 75-70, as part of the three-game Texas-Pan American Tip-Off Classic in Edinburg, Texas (11/19/11). Meanwhile, Kent State won at Toledo in the two team's lone match-up of the season (W, 77-61, 1/28/12).
The Golden Flashes, who defeated West Virginia in the season opener, posted a pair of lengthy win streaks (6 games; 7 games) over the course of the season.
The full CollegeInsider.com Tournament bracket will be released Sunday night.