The Jackrabbits, the 2017 Summit League Tournament champions, will face top seeded Gonzaga, in Salt Lake City, Thursday (March 16).
Their lone loss of the year came to BYU, February 25. It's the best annual bet every year as the tournament in men's college basketball is the pinnacle of excitement and joy when it comes to sports. The Orange went just 2-11 away from the Carrier Dome this season, the pair of victories a one-point win over middling Clemson and an overtime win over an NC State team that fired its coach just a couple weeks later. Welcome to the NCAA tournament, Northwestern.
Syracuse (18-14) found itself on the wrong side of the bubble after failing to win five of its last seven games, while Rhode Island, led by former Seton Hall guard Danny Hurley, earned an automatic bid by winning the Atlantic 10 title Sunday. Wichita State, which has now made the NCAAs six years in a row and reached the Final Four a few years ago, deserved better. The Wildcats went a ideal 13-0 in non-conference play, featuring wins over top-ranked programs such as Purdue, Notre Dame, and Virginia.
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Northwestern was plenty happy: Though it was no surprise, the Wildcats were jumping up and down, taking selfies and celebrating after being officially invited into March Madness for the first time in the program's history. The Cats might have even boosted their tournament seed with back-to-back wins in this week's Big Ten Tournament, including a Friday-night victory over Maryland in front of a raucous pro-Terps crowd at the Verizon Center. The Cats are going dancing.