Local eyes will turn to the NCAA Tournament’s East Region on Saturday, when Maryland, Georgetown and potentially Mount St. Mary’s will play.
Maryland is the No. 10 seed and will face seventh-seeded UConn. The Terps are in the tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons but it is their lowest seeding since 2009.
Maryland was the last at-large team announced, leaving coach Mark Turgeon sweating a little.
“Yeah it was a little stressful,” Turgeon said Sunday night. “I always felt like we were in, I think when Michigan State came up 11 (seed) there we knew we were in because we’d beaten them twice.”
In the dreaded 5/12 matchup long known for upsets by the lower seeded team, No. 12 Georgetown is pitted against fifth-seeded Colorado. The Hoyas are in the tournament for the first time since 2015, and coach Patrick Ewing feels his team’s return to the Big Dance won’t be brief.
“Why can’t we make a run? We believe in ourselves, we worked hard to get to this point in the season and anything is possible,” Ewing said Sunday night.
Mount St. Mary’s will play Texas Southern in the play-in game for the No. 16 and the right to face top-seeded Michigan. The Mountaineers also played one of the tournament’s First Four games in their last tournament appearance in 2017, beating New Orleans before falling to top-seeded Villanova.
In the West Region, fourth-seed Virginia will face No. 13 seed Ohio on Saturday. The Cavaliers will make their seventh straight NCAA tournament appearance despite withdrawing from the ACC Tournament last week because of COVID reasons.
VCU is the No. 10 seed in the West bracket, taking on seventh-seeded Oregon on Saturday. The Rams, runners-up to St. Bonaventure in the A-10 conference tournament, are making their ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
In the South Region, No. 10 seed Virginia Tech will make its fourth straight tournament appearance against seventh-seed Florida on Friday.
West Virginia, as the third seed in the South, will play No. 14 seed Morehead St.; the Mountaineers’ fifth tournament appearance since 2015.
Undefeated Gonzaga earned the top seed in the West Region and the overall top seed in the tournament. Michigan (East), Baylor (South) and Illinois (Midwest) are the other 1-seeds.
The Big Ten has the most teams in the tournament with 9.
Duke is neither in the tournament nor is it among the first four out, officially ending the Blue Devils’ streak of 24 straight tournament appearances.