General view of UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, site of the NCAA Tournament First Four. [Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports]

Let The Madness Begin

Anything can happen. It’s March in the college basketball season. If you believe in the magic, this is the time to watch the sport.

Howard coach Kenneth Blakeney has been telling his team just that.

“March is different. There is a magic that goes on if you can play with a spirit, if you can stay connected … Anything can happen to your team,” Blakeney said.

Howard (18-16) will play Wagner (16-15) in a First Four game of the NCAA Tournament at 6:40 p.m. today in Dayton, Ohio. The winner  will have the privilege to play a No. 1 seed in UNC. Either Howard or Wagner will try to become just the third No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed.

Howard opens as a 3 1/2-point favorite. Wagner is hot after finishing the regular season on three-game win streak. Donald Copeland, Wagner’s head coach, told his team that it will be a challenge. Howard has several players who were recruited at a high level, and they bring that talent to the court.

This game will be the first official game of the tournament. Coverage is on truTV from UD Arena in Dayton.

Howard is  in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and won the conference tournament defeating Delaware State 70-67. Wagner is in the Northeast Conference (NEC) and won the conference tournament defeating Merrimack 54-47.

For both Howard and Wagner, this is the second time being in the NCAA Tournament. It is Wagner’s first showing since 2003 and Howard’s first since 1992.

March History

Last season, we saw 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson take down No. 1 seed in the East Region Purdue, 63-58, in the opening weekend of the tournament. This season, Howard or Wagner have the chance to be able to do the same.



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