YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – March Madness begins Thursday for the Youngstown State men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Watch the video above to hear from both teams as they prepare for the conference tournament.
Both of the Penguin programs have earned a first round home game in the Horizon League Tournament, and both will be in action Thursday night as part of a Beeghly Center doubleheader.
The women will tip things off against Northern Kentucky, a team they beat twice during the regular season.
“I think everyone’s just a little bit hungrier, a little bit more excited,” says Penguins senior guard Megan Callahan. “Everyone’s out for a little more blood in March.”
“You get a first round bye and a quarter final home game, that’s huge,” says YSU women’s basketball coach John Barnes. “So to the fans that maybe haven’t gotten tickets yet, it’s going to be a packed house and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The YSU men will start tournament play as the one-seed, which means they will be wearing the biggest target this season.
“Super Bowl is huge. Kentucky Derby is huge. NBA Finals are huge. There’s a lot of great sporting events, but March Madness is one of the most followed,” says YSU men’s basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun. “Why? Because it’s single elimination. At our level, it gets no better than this tournament.”
“It’s win or go home. That’s all it is. It’s win or go home,” says Penguins senior guard Dwayne Cohill. “There’s five or six seniors on this team that if we lose that game, we’ll probably never put a jersey on with Youngstown again, and we didn’t come here to do that.”
The Horizon League tournament doubleheader will tipoff Thursday at 6 p.m. with the YSU women hosting Northern Kentucky. The YSU men will take on Detroit Mercy following that contest at approximately 8 p.m.