If you were at the Millennium Centre on Sunday, you were either seated in a chair, standing on your feet or crowded on the floor blocking the aisle in anticipation to see who the Bucs would be facing this week.
ETSU held a public watch party for the NCAA selection show on CBS in the Millennium Centre Sunday at 5 p.m.
After defeating UNC Greensboro on Monday, March 6, the ETSU men’s basketball team was named the Southern Conference champs and got an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The next step for the Bucs was to find out their first opponent.
“It’s still surreal,” said junior guard Desonta Bradford. “Being able to play in the NCAA tournament: That’s something I dreamed of as a kid. It’s one of the goals that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m speechless, still.”
It was announced that the East Tennessee State University men’s basketball team (selected as No. 13 seed) will be facing the Florida Gators (selected as No. 4 seed) on Thursday in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The game will be held in Orlando.
“Florida is a great team,” Bradford said. “I feel like with this team we can play and compete with anybody, as long as we bring it. So I’m looking forward to it and I’m ready.”
The Bucs have an overall record of 27-7 and the Gators, 24-8.
Prior to their conference tournaments, both teams have won eight games, with only two losses in their last 10 games.
“I like the matchup,” said Head Coach Steve Forbes. “Florida is really good. I’ve known Mike White a long time, Mike was at Ole Miss when I was at Tennessee. I think our teams are a lot alike. Really athletic, play hard, play 94 feet… It’s a good matchup. I know it’s going to be a hard game but we’ll be ready to play.”