Updated March 16, 2014 at 10 p.m.
For the first time in seven years, the men’s basketball team is going dancing.
After waiting through three regions of announcements, the Colonials were announced as the No. 9 seed in the East region of the NCAA Tournament. GW will play No. 8 Memphis on Friday in Raleigh, N.C at 6:55 p.m.
“It worked out well, we have a good seed,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “Our conference gets a lot of respect. I think it’s a good first round matchup, a very good, talented Memphis team.”
The bid marks GW’s 11th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its first since 2007 when the Colonials earned an automatic bid after winning the Atlantic 10 Championship.
The Colonials, along with athletic director Patrick Nero, University President Steven Knapp and a contingent of GW fans waited and watched as fellow A-10 teams, such as Saint Louis VCU, Dayton, and UMass were announced before the Colonials. In total, it was six bids for the A-10 – tied for second most by any conference – as Saint Joseph’s later had its name called in the same region as GW.
Sophomore Joe McDonald said after the announcement that it was tough waiting to hear his team’s name called. He added that he is excited for the opening round game against the Tigers and a rematch with a former teammate: former GW forward David Pellom, who transferred after last season with one year of eligibility remaining.
“We’re excited, man,” McDonald said. “You know, it’s a close trip and we get to play one of our old teammates in David Pellom at Memphis, so we’re just really excited.”
When asked about immediate preparations or gameplan for the Tigers, Lonergan admitted that he hasn’t watched too many Memphis games over the course of the season, but will scout the team heavily in the coming days.
“I know every year they’ve got a really, really athletic team. They usually win twenty plus games every year. We’ll know a lot more about them in the next 36 to 48 hours,” Lonergan said.
The Tigers enter the tournament with an overall record of 23-9. Memphis is no stranger to the tournament, making its eighth appearance in the last nine seasons.
GW is 4-10 in its 10 prior NCAA Tournament appearances, with first-round victories in 1994 and 2006 and a pair of wins en route to the Sweet 16 in 1993.
Fans interested in making the trip to Raleigh can fill out fill out the request form posted by the athletics department. The game will be broadcast on TBS.