Local Events: NCAA Tournament comes to the Bay Area
Written by Sam Pasco on March 18, 2019
If you’re a sports fan, or really just about anyone who knows a sports fan, you might know that March means that the annual “March Madness” College Basketball Tournament is taking place. For those of you who don’t know, a field of 68 college basketball teams will compete in a massive postseason bracket, with games taking place all over the country, to be crowned champions. This year, the Bay Area will witness six of these games in San Jose on Friday and Sunday. Before you watch the game on TV (or make the hour-long drive down 101), take a look at a preview of the games that will take place at the SAP Center.
In the East Region, Liberty (12 seed) will be taking on Mississippi State (5 seed) at 4:27 PM PT. Liberty is is a private Christian school located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and they are surely not known for their basketball program. After decades in the Big South Conference, Liberty’s basketball team made the move to the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN), and it seemed to happen at the right time. Leading scorer Scottie James and athletic guard Caleb Homesley led this Liberty squad to three quality road wins: over UCLA (out of conference) and two over Lipscomb (an NIT team and 1 seed in the ASUN). They will be facing off against powerhouse Mississippi State of the SEC, who had a decorated season with multiple appearances in the AP Top 25 poll.
The other East Region matchup will be between St. Louis (13 seed) and Virginia Tech (4 seed). St. Louis is coming off of an impressive and surprising run in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, where they shocked the conference by winning as a 6 seed. Their biggest win came in the semifinals against Davidson, where St. Louis came out on top 67-44. They will face off against Virginia Tech of the ACC, who is undoubtedly the best team in these San Jose first-round matchups. Virginia Tech has a win over overall number 1 seed Duke on their resume and will return star guard Justin Robinson. Virginia Tech is a force to be reckoned with in San Jose.
Over in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin (5 seed) and Oregon (12 seed) will matchup in the round of 64. Wisconsin comes from the Big 10, where they were ranked for much of the year and had impressive wins over the likes of Maryland and Michigan. Ethan Happ will look to lead his team over a hot Oregon squad that is coming off of a big Pac 12 Tournament win. Oregon has been on a roll since February—winning eight games in a row to become the Pac 12 Champions. Oregon will attempt to continue their winning streak in a much anticipated 5-12 matchup against Wisconsin.
The final NCAA Tournament round of 64 games that will take place in San Jose is Kansas State (4 seed) vs. UC Irvine (13 seed). UC Irvine is entering this game after a very successful season in the Big West Conference. With wins over Saint Mary’s and Texas A&M, teams should be fearing this strong and athletic 13 seed. Kansas State enters this game after a regular season championship in the Big 12, which in itself is extremely impressive. However, star Dean Wade is likely to be out for this first round matchup, so an upset is definitely a possibility.
San Jose is loaded with great 5-12 (seed) and 4-13 round of 64 matchups, so watch for the small, unheard of programs to try to make a statement over some of the biggest basketball programs in America.
This article was created in collaboration with Edward Solomon