College basketball’s season-ending showcase known as March Madness officially tipped off on Tuesday with the First Four looking to move on from the field of 68 to the group of 64. Texas Southern, with 6-foot-3 senior guard Bryson Etienne coming off the bench to score a game-high 21 points, knocked off Texas A&M-CC 76-67 in the tournament’s opening game.
In the single elimination battle, the Tigers earned their third First Four win in the last four NCAA seasons. The Houston, Texas-based school will now take on the Midwest region’s No. 1 seed, the Kansas Jayhawks, today scheduled for 9:57 p.m. In the second game, former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson took his alma mater, Indiana University, into a late night matchup with Wyoming. Woodson had guided Indiana to a 20-13 record before facing Wyoming.
The goal of every team is to advance game-by-game. Getting to the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and championship Monday, which will be held in New Orleans April 4. Returning to defend their first ever men’s basketball title are the Baylor Bears, last year’s champion. They are the top seed in the East region.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs, this season’s overall No. 1 seed, lost to Baylor in last season’s final game. It was their second loss in the championship game and their second Final Four appearance. Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the South region. Representing the tri-state area are the UConn Huskies from the Big East, the Seton Hall Pirates, also from the Big East, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights of the Big Ten, and the St. Peter’s Peacocks of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, coached by former Seton Hall star and Queens native Shaheen Holloway.
St. Peters will take on Kentucky tonight at 7 p.m. UConn faces New Mexico State this evening at 6:50 p.m. Seton Hall will take on TCU tomorrow at 9:57 p.m. and Rutgers challenged Notre Dame in a First Four pairing last night (Wednesday).