Five 'local' teams will dance in NCAA Tournament

Brian Tinsman
March 12, 2018 - 12:09 am
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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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There are five D.C. area teams competing in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament--but only if you consider schools up to 275 miles away in rural southwest Virginia.

With Hampton in the NIT and recent regional contenders Georgetown, VCU, Maryland and George Mason falling short of even that, D.C. turns its lonely eyes to Virginia, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and potentially even Radford University.

University of Virginia (1)

The Wahoos are coming off of their best season in school history, and the consensus No. 1 overall pick in both the AP and Coaches' Polls.

This is the third time in the last five years that Tony Bennett's squad carries a No. 1 seed into the tournament, although the program has fallen well short of expectations in tournament play.

At more than 100 miles from downtown D.C., they are a team and school more associated with the district than their first opponents, the UMBC Retrievers, even though UMBC is less than 35 miles from downtown D.C.

UMBC (63)

The Retrievers went on a miracle run just to get considered, knocking off Vermont in the America East Conference Championships, off an improbable pull-up three-pointer. This was their first win over Vermont in 24 tries, after getting beaten by the AEC bully twice by double digits during the regular season.

UMBC faces historic odds in Virginia, as a No. 16 seed has never beaten No. 1 in tournament play. Just to be competitive would be a remarkable feat.

The two teams are scheduled to tip off on TNT at approximately 9:20 p.m. on Friday, March 16.

West Virginia (18)

Morgantown's proximity to D.C. might be a stretch in other years, but this year, it's time to bring Bob Huggins in for a bear hug. The Mountaineers are a five seed and have had some of the best regional success in recent years and are always a sneaky pick to surprise a few teams. 

West Virginia will play Murray State in the first round, with tipoff expected on TNT around 4 p.m. on Friday, March 16.

Virginia Tech (31)

The Hokies are nearly the median team in the tournament, and as an eight seed will play against a team of similar ability in Alabama, a nine seed.

Despite Tech's association with the D.C. region, it actually much farther away than West Virginia, down the I-81 corridor in Virginia.

The Hokies will tip off at approximately 9:20 on TNT on Thursday, March 15.

Radford (65)

While teams dream of a Final Four appearance, the Radford Highlanders must be over the moon to land in the First Four, a play-in among four teams just to compete in the tournament. Radford won the Big South, punching its ticket for the tournament despite a 22-12 regular season record. 

This will be Radford's first appearance since 2009, and they will compete against Long Island University-Brooklyn in the First Four round. Tipoff is expected on TruTV at approximately 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13. The winner takes on Villanova, another No. 1 overall seed in the first round of the tournament.

Here is a complete seed list and tournament bracket:

 

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