As many expected, Gonzaga landed the No. 1 team out West, but it won’t know who it is facing on Thursday until Tuesday night. Fairleigh Dickinson and Prairie View A&M will face off for that 16 spot in Salt Lake City.
Fairleigh Dickinson represents the Northeast Conference this season. The Knights upset Saint Francis in the conference tournament final to land the automatic bid. This is FDU’s sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament, and first since 2016, when it lost to Florida Gulf Coast in a play-in game. While it is just a play-in, FDU has a prime opportunity to land its first ever NCAA Tournament win here.
After 21 years away, Prairie View A&M is back in the Big Dance. The team started 1-11 on the year, but went on a run winning 18 of 19 to win the SWAC regular season. From there, they beat Texas Southern to capture the conference tournament and automatic birth. The Panthers last made the tournament in 1998, when they were drubbed by Kansas.
— GiantsWFAN (@giantswfan) March 17, 2019
Date: Tuesday, March 19
Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
TV Channel: truTV
Location: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH
Announcers: Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner // Dana Jacobson
Prediction: As a 16-seed First Four game, this isn’t the sexiest game you’ll find, but it may be the closest on paper.
Ken Pomeroy’s numbers have Fairleigh Dickinson at No. 208 in the country. Prairie View A&M? No. 209.
The biggest difference in this one is the pace at which the teams play. The Panthers are the 34th-fastest team in the country, while the Knights are down at No. 214 in tempo. Whichever team is able to set the tempo will have a major advantage.
That tough start for PVAMU might come in handy now. The team faced Baylor, Murray State, Georgia Tech, and UNC Greensboro in the non-conference, before ripping off a 17-1 record in the SWAC and winning the tournament. I’ll take the hot hand here to advance to the Round of 64.