NCAA Tournament Roundup: D.C. Area Teams Ready For March Madness
Despite longtime staples Maryland and Georgetown missing the NCAA Tournament this year, there are still four teams from the D.C. region who will be taking part in March Madness.
Virginia (No. 1 seed), Virginia Commonwealth (No. 5 seed), George Washington (No. 9 seed), and American (No. 15 seed) all qualified for the big dance.
American will start its tournament Thursday, while Virginia, VCU and GW play Friday.
Seed: No. 1, East Region
Opponent: No. 16 seed Coastal Carolina
Game Info: Friday, March 21 at 9:25 p.m. (Raleigh, N.C.)
Virginia earned the No. 1 seed in the East Region after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament championships, and will face No. 16 Coastal Carolina in the first round on Friday in Raleigh, N.C.
The Cavaliers (28-6) have won 16 of their past 17 games and beat Duke 72-63 on Sunday to claim the ACC tournament title for the first time since 1976. Virginia leads the nation in scoring defense.
Malcolm Brogdon, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard, leads the Cavaliers with 12.6 points per game.
Coastal Carolina (21-12) earned its first trip to the tournament in 21 years by beating Winthrop 76-61 in the Big South Championship last weekend. The Chanticleers’ veteran coach Cliff Ellis has also led South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn to the NCAA tournament.
Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Seed: No. 5, South Region
Opponent: No. 12 seed Stephen F. Austin
Game Info: Friday, March 21 at 7:27 p.m. (San Diego, Calif.)
Virginia Commonwealth will open the NCAA tournament Friday in San Diego against Stephen F. Austin, which has won 28 in a row.
The Lumberjacks (31-2) beat Sam Houston State 68-49 Saturday to win the Southland Conference tournament and earn their first NCAA tournament berth since 2009 and their second ever. The 12th-seeded Jacks’ only losses were a 72-62 setback at Texas and a 66-58 loss at ETSU.
VCU (26-8) lost 65-61 to Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 championship on Sunday. The Rams, a fifth seed, will be making their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. They have won at least one game in each of their first three trips, including advancing to the Final Four in 2011.
The Rams played Sunday without Melvin Johnson, their best 3-point shooter, after he injured his left knee in Saturday’s semifinals victory against George Washington. Johnson is scheduled for an MRI on Monday, and it seems unlikely that he will be able to play again this season.
The game is part of the South Regional, where overall top seed Florida is the top seed.
George Washington Colonials
Seed: No. 9, East Region
Opponent: No. 8 seed Memphis
Game Info: Friday, March 21 at 6:55 p.m. (Raleigh, N.C.)
No. 9 seed George Washington, making its first NCAA tournament appearance in seven seasons, will play in the East Region on Friday against No. 8 seed Memphis.
The Colonials (24-8) finished in a tie for third place in the Atlantic 10 — a powerful conference that sent six teams to the Big Dance. The Colonials have won five of their past seven games, including victories over NCAA tourney teams UMass and St. Joseph’s.
The Tigers (23-9) finished in a tie for third place in the newly-created American Athletic Conference and have had several impressive victories, including two over Louisville. But coach Josh Pastner’s bunch has been inconsistent and was blown out by UConn 72-53 in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament earlier this week.
Seed: No. 15, West Region
Opponent: No. 2 seed Wisconsin
Game Info: Thursday, March 20 at 12:40 p.m. (Milwaukee, Wisc.)
American (20-12) earned an automatic bid after winning the Patriot League tournament with a 55-36 victory against Boston University on Wednesday night.
The Eagles are led by Jesse Reed (13.9 points) and Tony Wroblicky (12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds). They are winless in two NCAA appearances.
They’ll face the Wisconsin Badgers, who earned the No. 2 seed in the West region and get to stay in their home state when they play the Eagles in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Wisconsin got an at-large bid after losing 83-75 on Saturday to eventual Big Ten champion Michigan State.
The Badgers (26-7) come in having dropped two of their last three games. Frank Kaminsky leads Wisconsin with 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
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