WILMINGTON — The road to the Final Four in Arizona is passing through the Port City this week as UNC-Wilmington welcomes the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Trophy to campus.
After arriving at Trask Coliseum on Wednesday, the trophy will be on display inside the arena through the end of halftime during the Seahawks’ match up against William & Mary on Thursday. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. Attendees will have a chance to get a photo with the trophy in the gate B foyer.
The trophy stop is part of a national tour to raise excitement for March Madness. Prior to its trip to Wilmington, the trophy was on display at the HTC Center in Conway, South Carolina, on Monday for the Coastal Carolina versus Little Rock contest.
As far as UNC-Wilmington’s chances to actually raise the national championship hardware later this year, it’s still a long shot for the Seahawks to make it to Phoenix for the Final Four. But UNCW’s impressive 15-2 start helped garner 12 votes in this week’s USA Today Top 25 Poll. The Seahawks are also listed at No. 4 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.
UNCW is the defending CAA Champions and look to punch a ticket to the Big Dance for the second time in as many years. UNCW is listed at No. 25 in the nation in RPI, which is one of the tools used by the NCAA Selection Committee to evaluate teams based on strength of schedule.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Seahawks as an 11-seed in the 68-team bracket in his latest bracketology listing. UNCW is off to its best start in school history under third-year Coach Kevin Keatts. The Seahawks have made five trips to the NCAA Tournament in the programs 40-year history, with one Round of 32 appearance (2001-02).