The UNCW men’s basketball team will make its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance later this week as the Seahawks learned their fate for the Big Dance during Selection Sunday.
The Seahawks, newly crowned champions of the Colonial Athletic Association and sporting a 25-7 record, are the No. 13 seed in the West Region and battle No. 4-seeded Duke on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
Pairings for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship were announced late Sunday and approximately 1,300 Seahawk faithful assembled to hear the news. The trip to Providence marks the first NCAA venture for the Seahawks in a decade after titles in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2006.
“We got a tough draw against a very good basketball team,” said Kevin Keatts, UNCW’s second-year head coach and two-time CAA Coach of the Year. “Our guys are extremely excited about the opportunity. Everyone knows what type of program Duke has and Coach K is one of the best in the business and he does a tremendous job. It’s going to be a big test for us.”
The Seahawks and Blue Devils have only played once and Duke prevailed in overtime, 67-57, on Feb. 8, 1982.
UNCW owns a 1-4 record in the NCAA Tournament, playing in Nashville, Tennessee (2000 and 2003), Sacramento, California (2002) and Greensboro (2006).
The Seahawks’ lone win in the NCAA Tournament came on March 14, 2002, when UNCW, led by all-time great Brett Blizzard, stunned No. 4-seeded Southern California, 93-89 in overtime at Arco Arena.
Duke (23-10), ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 20 in the NCAA RPI, will be playing in its 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils are 2-1 in the tournament as a No. 4 seed and 1-0 against the No. 13 seed. Under Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke has national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015. He is the NCAA’s all-time leader in tournament victories, posting an 88-26 (.772) record in his 36 seasons at Duke.
Tickets will be $100 for UNCW’s session and will go on sale Monday. Click here for the complete NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Bracket.