After an exhilarating, but anxious 24 hours, both Southern and NC A&T now know who they will face in the NCAA Tournament. NC A&T will matchup against Liberty in a dreaded First Four game in the Midwest Bracket, while Southern will meet up with no. 1 seed Gonzaga in the West.
Like NC A&T, Liberty surprised many by winning its conference tournament title. The Flames entered their tournament with just nine wins against Division I completion. But it found its stride last week, upsetting High Point (17-13), Gardner Webb (21-12) and Charleston Southern (19-12) en route to its third NCAA appearance of all-time. NC A&T (19-16) entered the MEAC Tournament as a no. 7 seed and earned its 10th NCAA appearance in a 57-54 win over Morgan State.
The Aggies are still searching for their first NCAA Tourney win. They enter Tuesday’s contest 0-9. Liberty is 0-2 in the NCAA Tourney. Also, NC A&T had a 3-1 record against their common opponents, Howard, Morgan State and Campbell. The teams will meet Tuesday in Dayton, OH. The winner will face Louisville, the tournament’s top seed.
While Southern (23-9) has to be elated to not be in the First Four, it faces a tall task against Gonzaga.The Zags (31-2) have been a top team all year and are a legitimate national title contender. They will also be playing in Gonzaga’s backyard, the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT on Thursday.