clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Goodbye NMTC, Hello NCAA Tournament: Kennesaw State clinches first NCAA Tournament bid

The Owls scrapped through three home games and beat Liberty in the title game

After one win three years ago, the Kennesaw State Owls are dancing.
Nick Lorensen/

HOOTY HOO! The Kennesaw State Owls have clinched their first NCAA Tournament bid in school history.

They battled Liberty in the title game and came out victorious 67-66 on Sunday. That’s an example of what this Owls’ program is built upon. Being battle tested.

Just three short years ago, Kennesaw State basketball was at its lowest point, finishing the 2019-20 season with a 1-28 record. The administration didn’t see a need to make a coaching change though, and major props to them for doing just that.

Amir Abdur-Rahim showed throughout the ASUN Tournament, just how strong of a coach he is with three close wins.

It began in the quarterfinal game against a Queens program with nothing to lose. They came out on top by one point. However, there were some clear and obvious adjustments that needed to be made heading into the semifinals.

They did just that and picked up a nine-point win against Lipscomb. Rather than letting the Bisons make it close at the end, the Owls showed poise in the moment. They hit their free throws to pull away after Lipscomb cut into the lead late.

The victory set up a showdown between the two teams that tied for the best record in the conference: Kennesaw State and Liberty. Abdur-Rahim had one major thing circled on his scouting report... keep Darius McGhee quiet.

One of the best 3-point shooters in NCAA Tournament history was 0-for-11 from three and held in check with only 14 points.

A 6-0 run in the final minutes, just like the run they had a few weeks ago against Liberty in the regular season, sealed the deal and clinched the Owls’ first bid to the big dance in school history.

This season is the first time Kennesaw State has finished above .500 in Division I. The Owls, who are 26-8, sit as a 15-seed in Joe Lunardi’s most recent Bracketology.