6:40 p.m.: No. 16 North Carolina A&T vs. No. 16 Liberty - Game Preview
Winner will play No. 1 Louisville on Thursday in Lexington, Ky.
Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (tie-sixth)
Etc.: Despite tying for sixth in the MEAC after the regular season, N.C. A&T earned its way in with a stunning run through the MEAC tournament. The seventh-seeded Aggies, who had not won more than two straight games in the regular season, won four straight capped by a 57-54 win over Morgan State in the title game. It’s the first appearance for the Aggies since 1995 and their 10th overall (0-9). The Aggies will be somewhat familiar with the trip to Dayton. Wright State beat N.C. A&T 56-44 at the Nutter Center on Nov. 14.
Conference: Big South (fifth, North Division)
Etc.: The Flames are the second team with 20 or more losses to qualify for the tournament, joining the 2008 Coppin State team that was 16-20. Liberty started the season 0-8 and didn’t beat Division I opponents in consecutive games during the regular season. But they rattled off five straight wins for their first Big South title behind tourney MVP Davon Marshall, beating Charleston Southern 87-76 for the title. John Caleb Sanders (14.2 points), Marshall (13.4) and Tavares Speaks (13.1) are the leading scorers.
9:10 p.m.; No. 11 Middle Tennessee State vs. No. 11 Saint Mary’s - Game Preview
Winner will play No. 6 Memphis on Thursday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Conference: Sun Belt (first, East Division)
Etc.: The Blue Raiders are making their first appearance since 1989 after receiving an at-large bid. A 61-57 upset loss to Florida International in the Sun Belt title game snapped a 17-game winning streak, then the nation’s longest active stretch. Marcus Knight is the team’s leading scorer (12.5) and rebounder (5.8). Middle Tennessee State is 2-7 in six previous trips to the tournament.
Conference: West Coast (second)
Etc.: The Gaels, who also received an at-large bid, are making their eighth tournament appearance and bring in a 3-7 record. Three of Saint Mary’s losses are to No. 1 seed Gonzaga, including a 65-51 setback in the West Coast Conference championship game. Matthew Dellavedova (15.8) leads the offense.
6:40 p.m.; No. 16 LIU-Brooklyn vs. No. 16 James Madison - Game Preview
Winner will play No. 1 Indiana on Friday at Dayton
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association (fourth)
Etc.: The Dukes are in for the first time since 1994 with a 70-57 win over Northeastern in the CAA title game. Rayshawn Goins (12.7 points, 7.4 rebounds per game) was the tournament MVP after going for 26 points to avenge a 66-64 loss to Northwestern on Feb. 20. The Dukes are 3-4 overall in the tournament and make their fifth appearance.
Conference: Northeast (tie-second)
Etc.: After a three-way tie for second in the Northeast Conference, the Blackbirds became the first team to win the postseason tournament three years in a row. C.J. Garner went off for 31 points in a 91-70 win over Mount St. Mary’s in that title game. The Blackbirds are 0-5 going into their sixth NCAA appearance.
9:10 p.m., No. 13 Boise State vs. No. 13 La Salle - Game Preview
Winner will play No. 4 Kansas State on Friday in Kansas City
Conference: Mountain West (tie-fourth)
Etc.: The Broncos earned an at-large bid despite falling to San Diego State 73-67 in the quarterfinals. It’s their first at-large bid in program history and gives them their sixth overall appearance (0-5), the last coming in 2008. Boise State averages 73.3 points per game and boasts a trio of double-digit scorers in Anthony Drmic 17.3, Derrick Marks 16.3 and Jeff Elorriaga 10.3.
Conference: Atlantic 10 (tie-third)
Etc.: Welcome back, La Salle. The Explorers are making their 11th appearance overall but first since 1992 and carry an 11-10 tournament record into the game. La Salle averages 72.4 points, a tick below Boise State’s average. La Salle, which has won 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1988-89 and 1989-90, could benefit from its A-10 schedule, which brings it to UD Arena most years. La Salle hosted Dayton in their only meeting this season. Ramon Galloway (17 points) and Tyreek Duren (15) spark the offense.
First Four Practice Times Monday, March 18 Open Practices (Open to the media and general public)
- 5:05-5:45 p.m. - North Carolina A&T
- 5:50-6:30 p.m. - Liberty
- 6:35-7:15 p.m. - Saint Mary’s
- 7:20-8 p.m. - Middle Tennessee
Tuesday, March 19 Open Practices (Open to the media and general public)
- 12:05-12:45 p.m. - LIU Brooklyn
- 12:50-1:30 p.m. - James Madison
- 1:35-2:15 p.m. - La Salle
- 2:20-3 p.m. - Boise State