Gonzaga, Kansas, Syracuse Highlight Schools Coming To SLC For NCAA Tournament
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Highlighted by No. 1 seed Gonzaga, the NCAA selection committee announced which teams will be heading to Vivint Smart Home Arena for first and second round games of the NCAA Tournament.
Salt Lake City will host games in two portions of the bracket, the Midwest Region and the West Region.
The games will begin on Thursday and be hosted by the University of Utah at the downtown arena where the Jazz play.
Here’s a look at who’s coming:
#5 Auburn vs. #12 New Mexico State
Auburn defeated Tennessee, which had been one of the top teams in the country this year, in the championship game of the SEC tournament. They won their conference title despite going into the tournament as a 5 seed.
New Mexico State punched their ticket as the WAC champion after defeating Grand Canyon in the title game. The Aggies are the lone representative from the WAC conference. Earlier this year, the Aggies beat Utah Valley twice, the first ended an extended home winning streak by the Wolverines and the second a seven-point victory in Las Cruces.
The winner of this game will play the winner of Kansas vs. Northeastern to go to the Sweet 16.
#4 Kansas vs. #13 Northeastern
Despite not winning the Big 12 regular season conference title nor the tournament championship for the first time in many years, Kansas still brings a big time brand name to the tournament action in Salt Lake City. The Jayhawks made the Final Four most recently in 2018.
The Huskies are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2015. They defeated top-seeded Hofstra in the Colonial Athletic Association championship to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
The winner of this game will play the winner of Auburn and New Mexico State to go to the Sweet 16.
#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Farleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M
Despite losing to Saint Mary’s in the WCC conference tournament game, Gonzaga still locked up a top seed in the tournament after holding onto the No. 1 ranking in the polls for a large part of the season. Led by center Rui Hachimura, the Bulldogs have a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance for the third time in program history. The last time they had a top seed, in 2017, they advanced all the way to the championship game, where they lost to North Carolina. Hall-of-Famer John Stockton, who played his entire NBA career with the Utah Jazz, is the most famous alumni from Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs will play the winner of Farleigh Dickinson and Prairie View A&M, who will play in a play-in game in Dayton, Ohio prior to coming to Salt Lake City. Prairie View won the Southwestern Athletic Conference while Farleigh Dickinson took home the title in the Northeast Conference.
The winner of this game will play the winner of Syracuse vs. Baylor to go to the Sweet 16.
#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Baylor
One of the most storied programs in NCAA history, the Orange, led by head coach Jim Boeheim, will be making the long trip to Salt Lake City. Boeheim, unfortunately, was in the news earlier this month after he was involved in fatal car crash. The Orange will come in with a 20-13 record.
The Baylor Bears will have plenty of support in Salt Lake City. Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, forward Royce O’Neale and center Ekpe Udoh are all Bears alumni. Lindsey’s son, Jake, is a current member of the team, but recently underwent season-ending hip surgery and won’t be able to play. Baylor was knocked out of the Big 12 Conference tournament after losing to eventual champion Iowa State in the first round.
The winner of this game will advance to play the winner of Gonzaga vs. Farleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M to go to the Sweet 16.
This story will be updated with tipoff times as soon as they are announced.