For the next two days, Dayton, Ohio will be the epicenter of college basketball as eight teams tip off the 2016 Men's NCAA Tournament. All of them aiming for the four remaining spots in the field of 64.
The Southern Jaguars (22-12) will face Holy Cross (14-19) on Wednesday at 5:40 p.m. for game three of the First Four. Both are 16 seeds.
The Jags are making their first tournament appearance in four seasons.
"We're just glad to be among the elite here playing in this tournament," said Southern head coach Roman Banks.
Both teams overcame losing stretches towards the end of league play and went on to win conference tournament championships and their conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
"It was just really gratifying to see the way we came together at the end of the season just because it was so rough during the regular season," said Holy Cross forward Malachi Alexander.
However, that's where the similarities end. Southern runs an uptempo, "run and gun" style of offense.
"They're a pretty explosive team," said Holy Cross head coach Bill Carmody. "They like to get up and down, well-coached, balanced scoring with inside-outside kind of game."
Holy Cross likes to control the pace with its Princeton-styled offense.
"One thing about them is that their 'Bigs' are able to step away from the basket and make a lot of 3-point shots," Banks said.
The Crusaders' 'bread and butter' on the defensive side comes in the form of the 1-3-1, something completely unfamiliar to the Jags this season.
"I don't know if we've really seen the type of 1-3-1 defense that they've played amoeba style,"Banks said
Holy Cross will try to limit Southern's possessions to slow down the Jags' offense.
"I'm sure they want to do some things to control the tempo and hopefully we can get our perimeter guys to penetrate the gaps a little bit, something that we're good at, and create some other easy opportunities into the 1-3-1," Banks said.
Tipoff is set for 5:40 p.m.
Here are all the ways fans can watch the game:
TV - truTV - Cox channel 51, 1051 HD
Radio - Westwood One affiliates (WWL 1350 AM) available on the TuneIn App.
Video stream - NCAA.com/marchmadness
Live stats - gametracker.com
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