DAYTON, OH (Sporting Alert) — The NCAA Tournament makes a mini start on Tuesday night with two First Four games as the real knock out phase take center stage.BYU players battle in a game before the NCAA Tournament
The likes of Hampton, Manhattan, BYU and Ole Miss will play for places in the next round, which will feature the likes of Kentucky, Duke, Virginia and others.
Action in Dayton, Ohio gets underway at 6:40 PM ET on truTV, with a pair of 16th seeded sides, Hampton and Manhattan facing off in the Midwest Region – 1st round game, before West Region 11th seeds BYU and Ole Miss take the court in the other First Four contest.
Hampton (16-17, 8-8 MEAC) used a very strong second half to beat Delaware State 82-61 on Saturday to secure the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship and the Pirates, who have won four straight, are confident of keeping that streak going.
Manhattan (19-13, 13-7 MAAC), in the meantime, has also won four successive games coming into this contest.
The Jaspers earned their place in the NCAA Tournament first round after stunning the top-seeded Iona 79-69 to capture the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title for the second straight year on Monday night.
“It’s a very proud moment for me, but this is all about my players,” Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, who stuck around through the bad times earlier in the season, said. “These guys have taken this program into a whole new atmosphere.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these young men. It’s more than basketball to us. And they’re the reason I’m here.”
Manhattan is averaging 69.9 points per game and allowing 67.5, with Hampton scoring 67.2 points per game, but giving up 68.0.
In the night’s second game at the University of Dayton Arena, BYU (25-9, 13-5 WCC) and Ole Miss (20-12, 11-7 SEC) hunt the right to face sixth-seeded Xavier in the second round in Jacksonville, Florida on Thursday.
The pair is both confident, following a strong showing throughout the season and this battle is expected to go all the way down to wire so you might want to pay very close attention to this one.
BYU, which was beaten by Gonzaga 91-75 in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game, is second in the country in scoring at an impressive 83.6 points per game, while its 16.8 is fifth best in the nation in assist per game.
While the Cougars will be making their 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Rebels, who last appeared in 2013, are making their eighth.
Action in the NIT Tournament also gets underway on Tuesday night, with the likes of Miami (FL), Stanford, Tulsa and Iona, who all disappointingly missed out at playing in the NCAA Tournament taking the courts.
NCAA Tournament First Four Games
6:40 PM (16) Hampton vs (16) Manhattan* truTV
9:10 PM (11) BYU vs (11) Ole Miss* truTV
NIT Tournament Games
7:00 PM (6) Iona at (3) Rhode Island ESPNU, WacthESPN
7:00 PM (7) North Carolina Central at (2) Miami (FL) ESPN, WacthESPN
7:00 PM (5) George Washington at (4) Pittsburgh ESPN 2, WacthESPN
7:30 PM (6) Central Michigan at (3) Louisiana Tech ESPN 3
8:15 PM (7) William & Mary at (2) Tulsa ESPN 3
9:00 PM (6) Alabama vs (3) Illinois* ESPN, WacthESPN
9:00 PM (6) UTEP at (3) Murray State ESPN 2, WacthESPN
9:00 PM (7) Montana at (2) Texas A&M ESPNU, WacthESPN
11:00 PM (7) UC Davis at (2) Stanford ESPN2, WacthESPN