By Kayla Solomon
Around this time last year, Temple fans felt snubbed when the NCAA committee failed to choose them as a contender in the NCAA Tournament.
This year, the men’s basketball team lost to UConn in the American Athletic Conference semifinals, but still managed to earn a 10-seed in the South Region. The Owls’ first game is Friday, Mar. 18, against 7th seed Iowa. They join the other 66 teams who have the privilege to compete in the madness.
The four 1-seed teams this year are Kansas in the South, Oregon in the West, UNC in the East, and UVA in the Midwest. These four schools are regulars in the tournament, but just like every March, there are a few new faces.
- The 16-seed Austin Peay Governors are back in the tourney first the first time since 2008 after winning the Ohio Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament. This school is the fastest-growing university in Tennessee with almost 10 thousand students and a chant of “Let’s Go Peay!” The Governors have their work cut out for them in the first round of the South Region, facing the 1-seed Kansas Jayhawks.
- Cal State Bakersfield is making its very first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, thanks to a late three-pointer to beat New Mexico State. The 15-seed Roadrunners shocked everyone by winning the Western Athletic Conference, especially because they never beat New Mexico State prior to the championship game. You can tell just how proud coach Rod Barnes was knowing his team had an automatic place in the tourney. They will be playing 2-seed Oklahoma in the West Region.
- The Green Bay Phoenix, from the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay, ended its 20-year hiatus from the tourney after winning the Horizon League. The last time Green Bay was here, they got eliminated by Virginia Tech in the first round. However, the 14-seed Phoenix are hopeful they can beat 3-seed Oklahoma in the West Region.
- Chattanooga is only seven years removed from the tournament, but that first round loss in 2009 is one that still haunts them. They lost to UConn 103-47, one of the worst losses in NCAA Tournament history. The Mocs are ready to redeem themselves as the 12-seed opponent of 5-seed Indiana in the East Region.
- The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors have appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, but their record thus far is 0-4. In 2002, the last time they played in March, Hawaii lost to Xavier. Now, they are regarded as a team to watch closely. Hawaii is set to play 4th seed California Golden Bears in the East Region in the first round.
- The 12th seed Yale Bulldogs earned a spot for the first time since 1962, as you can see in this picture. Yale men’s basketball has been in the headlines since their team captain Jack Montague was expelled in February after being accused of rape by a student in October 2014. Despite the expulsion in February, the Bulldogs still managed to cruise their way to the top of the Ivy League Conference and is matched up with 5th seed Baylor in the first round in the West Region.
Every year, there are a number of bold predictions made about the upcoming weeks in college basketball. Today, USA Today released its list of seven bold predictions– and bold is an understatement. According to sportswriter Scott Gleeson, these are the seven predictions you should consider before making your bracket.
- “No team from the Big 12 will reach the Final Four”.
- “Three of four 12-seeds will pull off upsets”.
- “11-seeds Wichita State, Northern Iowa, and Gonzaga reach the Sweet 16”.
- “Three times won’t be a charm for Virginia against Michigan State”.
- “Only one 1-seed team will reach the Elite Eight”.
- “Maryland, yes Maryland, goes to the Final Four”.
- “Kentucky annoyingly wins it all”.
Who do you think will win it all? Comment below and choose your bracket carefully!