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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Front line play key to 1st-round game

SAN DIEGO -- Kent State is right where they want to be: in San Diego, as the underdog.\n"We really thrive in this role," guard Trevor Huffman said. "You can't be in a better spot than being the underdog because there's no pressure on you, it's all on the other team. We just go out there and play free."\nThe Hoosiers, seeded No. 4, face Kent State, seeded No. 13, in the first round of the NCAA championships at 8 p.m. today in Cox Arena.\nAll the pressure and the distractions are on IU. The Hoosiers are 2-6 in their last eight tournament games, and interim head coach Mike Davis wants to further prove he deserves the job full-time.\nBut Davis said the Hoosiers are ready for the Golden Flashes.\n"We've been through a lot," Davis said. "I don't think anything can rock the boat right now. Our guys are in the right frame of mind. The look in their eyes says they're ready to play."\nDavis compared Kent State to Iowa without Reggie Evans. He said Kent State's guards are good off the dribble and can penetrate.\n"We have to contain them and hold them to one shot," Davis said.\nOn offense, Davis said the Hoosiers will pound the ball inside because IU has a distinct size advantage with freshman forward Jared Jeffries and junior center Kirk Haston. Kent State's tallest starter is Mike Perry, 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds. He averages 5.3 points, and 3.5 rebounds per game.\n"We have what I think is the best front line in the country in JJ and Kirk Haston," Davis said. "I think our guards are the toughest guards in the country because they play so hard and they'll challenge you every possession."\nKent State coach Gary Waters wouldn't give IU's front line such high praise, but he said Jeffries and Haston will cause his team problems.\n"Their size is the dominant factor," Waters said. "Not only do they have size, they're athletic. Usually you'll find some plotters in the bunch. But they get up and down the court and can shoot the ball.\n"I think their size helps in their defense. When I look at their defense, it's strong and they keep you down percentage wise," Waters said.\nThe Hoosiers played their last three games without sophomore guard Kyle Hornsby, who sat out the Big Ten tournament with a sprained ankle. He said he's ready to play.\nHornsby's effectiveness is important because Davis isn't sure which Jeffrey Newton will show up -- the Jeffrey Newton who scored only one point in the last two games, or the Jeffrey Newton who scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Wisconsin.\n"Newton has to play. He has to get out of his casual approach to things," Davis said. "He should be out of it because it's the end of season, but he goes back and forth

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