Just hours away! It’s UNCW vs. Duke in Providence in the NCAA’s
PROVIDENCE, RI (WWAY) — The 25-7 UNCW Seahawks punched their ticket for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament last weekend at the CAA Championship in Baltimore, Md. On Wednesday the UNCW hit the court in Providence for their last tuneup before Thursday’s encounter with Duke. It’s only the second matchup ever with the Blue Devils for UNCW. This is a new experience for the UNCW players. UNCW hasn’t participated in the tournament in a decade. Obviously there is a lot of excitement to be a part of this stage. On Thursday afternoon they will face a sizeable stepup in competition of which UNCW hasn’t seen all season. In fact UNCW has not faced a ranked team since 2014.
This is a new experience for the UNCW players. UNCW hasn’t participated in the tournament in a decade. Obviously there is a lot of excitement to be a part of this stage. On Thursday afternoon they will face a sizeable stepup in competition of which UNCW hasn’t seen all season. In fact UNCW has not faced a ranked team since 2014.
“The biggest thing is stay focused with your task and play as best as you can,” UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts said Wednesday in Providence. “Have fun as much as you can in this tournament and try to beat Duke.”
“We’ll take our chances and we like where we’re at,” UNCW junior Center C.J. Gettys said on Wednesday. “Duke is a good program, but we’ll come in and work hard with a good game plan. We’re here to win some games.”
UNCW junior guard Chris Flemmings appears to be ready for the challenge of facing Duke. “Definitely exciting, but at the same time we know we’re here to win a game,” Flemmings said. “We’re not here for all of the extra stuff. We’ll take a moment to take it in, and we’ll try to stay focused.”
PROVIDENCE, RI (UNCW)– The UNCW men’s basketball team will see if the Cinderella slippers fit early Thursday when the resurgent Seahawks battle national power Duke on the first full day of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The No. 13 seeded Seahawks, 25-7, meet the No. 4 seeded Blue Devils, 23-10, at 12:15 p.m. at the 12,410-seat venue with a CBS national television audience watching. It marks the fifth NCAA appearance for the Seahawks and the eighth overall for the school.
UNCW earned the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament with a heart-stopping run to the CAA title last week, winning three games over the College of Charleston, Northeastern and Hofstra by a total of 12 points.
Following a week of abbreviated practices, much anticipation and the program’s biggest Selection Show celebration in history, the Seahawks take on the Blue Devils in only the second meeting between the two schools separated by just 160 miles.
“My guys are excited,” said Kevin Keatts, two-time CAA Coach-of-the-Year for the Seahawks. “We’ve had a tremendous year. When you talk about winning the regular season championship and then going on to Baltimore and having the opportunity to win three games in three days to be able to make it to this point, we’re excited as a program.
“We’re very happy to be here. We’re looking forward to playing against an unbelievable well-coached Duke team that’s got a lot of pieces that, in my opinion, causes us a lot of problems. But I think our guys are up for the challenge, and we’re excited about the opportunity.”
The Seahawks last played 10 days ago in Baltimore, Md., and upset top-seeded Hofstra in the finals of the CAA Tournament at Royal Farms Arena. Junior guard Chris Flemmings was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 17.6 points in the tournament and powering the Seahawks to their first title since 2006.
Flemmings leads the team in scoring (16.1 ppg) and anchors three players in double figures. Junior guard Denzel Ingram (12.5 ppg) and senior playmaker Craig Ponder (11.1) round out UNCW’s double digit scorers.
UNCW, which set a school record with 11 straight wins in February, has reeled off four in a row in the last two weeks leading up to the NCAA Tournament. The Seahawks are making their first NCAA appearance since an overtime loss to George Washington in the 2006 event at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Duke, meanwhile, enters the tourney looking to regain some momentum after dropping an 84-79 overtime score to Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals last Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The Blue Devils own the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage in the event’s history at .755 and rank third all-time in NCAA Tournament wins with 105 victories. Legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski has won a record 88 NCAA Tournament games.
Duke leads the all-time series, 1-0, after outlasting the Seahawks, 67-57, in overtime on Feb. 8, 1982, in the only game played between the two Tar Heel State teams.
The contest will feature a pair of First-Team All-Conference performers. Flemmings was named to the CAA’s top squad after leading the Seahawks in scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.1 rpg) as a walk-on this season. Duke’s Grayson Allen is on pace to become only the ninth player to lead Duke in scoring and assists in a season.
The winner of Thursday’s early game will face the winner of the day’s second game between Big XII at-large entry Baylor and Ivy League champion Yale on Saturday.
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