Daniel Mayes, Staff Reporter
In their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Jacksonville State men’s basketball team will take on the Louisville Cardinals.
The OVC champion Gamecocks were named the 15-seed in the Midwest region and they will matchup with 2-seeded Louisville of the ACC in Indianapolis on Friday.
“Everyone’s excited.” JSU senior guard Greg Tucker said after the announcement. “It’s a great time to be a Gamecock.”
The team learned their tournament fate during a watch party at Pete Mathews Coliseum on Sunday.
Before the bracket was revealed, the team greeted fans in the lobby of the coliseum and signed 2017 OVC Championship commemorative posters.
The OVC Championship trophy was also available in the lobby for Gamecock fans to view and take pictures with.
The team then moved onto the court, where a projector screen was set up for the watch party.
Approximately 1,000 fans gathered in “The Pete” to cheer on Jax State as they watched the selection show, and CBS cameras were there to capture the team’s reaction.
When Jacksonville State’s seed was announced, the team, along with the crowd, stood up and cheered.
Although the NCAA Tournament is a new experience for Jacksonville State University and its players, the coaches know what to expect in the “big dance.”
“Every member of the [JSU coaching] staff has been a part of an NCAA Tournament, so we know what the experience is going to be like,” Coach Ray Harper said. “We’ve just got to stay focused on what’s important.”
Louisville, who comes into the game against JSU with a record of 24-8, were seeded fourth in the ACC Tournament, but lost to eventual ACC champion Duke in the quarterfinals.
Friday’s game between Gamecocks and Cardinals will tip at about 1:45 p.m. central time on Friday, March 17 inside Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The matchup will be televised on CBS, with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson on the call.