Socon Champs ETSU to play Florida in the NCAA Tournament

ETSU Reaction

After winning the 2017 Southern Conference tournament last week the Bucs learned on Sunday that they will play the Florida Gators in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday at 3:10PM in Orlando Florida.

ETSU will be making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2010 when they faced Kentucky as a 16 seed. This time around the Bucs will be a 13 seed, which is their highest seed since 2004. That year ETSU was a #13 as well and nearly upset Cincinnati, losing 76-73.

ETSU finished the regular season at 27-7, just one win away from tying a school record for wins.

The 4th seeded Florida Gators finished 24-8 and second in the SEC, however the Gators also lost three out of their last four, including a first round loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. Florida’s big man, John Egbunu, was also lost for the year due to an injury suffered on February 14th versus Auburn.

ETSU and Florida have three opponents in common from the regular season. Mercer, Tennessee and Mississippi State. Like ETSU, Florida beat both Mercer and Mississippi State. Only difference is Florida won at home versus Tennessee by 13 points, where ETSU lost at home to Tennessee by four points.

The Gators have opened as 10 point favorites but ETSU seems to be a favorite among several national sports broadcasters to pull off the upset, including Jon Rothstein of CBS and Jay Bilas of ESPN.

If ETSU wins it will be their first NCAA tournament win since 1992, which is when the Bucs famously beat the 3rd seeded Arizona Wildcats 87-80.

Below is the ETSU basketball’s team reaction to drawing Florida in the first round during the selection show.

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Top 10 Moments in ETSU Basketball: #1

#1: 1992 NCAA win Tournament against Arizona

For the #1 moment in ETSU basketball history I’ve decided to go with ETSU beating Arizona in the 1992 NCAA tournament.

It may not come as a surprise to many ETSU basketball fans that the #1 moment is the NCAA tournament win versus Arizona but over the last 30 years I think that is the easy choice. Prior to the 1992 season the only NCAA tournament win ETSU had was the 1968 win against Florida State. ETSU basketball and it’s fans waited 24 years until it’s next NCAA tournament win and there were several close calls between that time. The Bucs only lost by 1 against Oklahoma in 1989 and only lost by 3 to Iowa two years later.

ETSU finished the 1991-1992 season strong much like the previous year, in winning their last 8 games en route to the NCAA tournament. They also had several big wins earlier in the year, such as on the road against Tennessee and Xavier. However, when the NCAA field was set the Bucs found themselves as an underrated #14 seed against #3 Arizona who had been ranked in the top 5 most of the season, including reaching as high as 2nd in the nation late in the year. While it sounds like a difficult match on paper it was exactly what ETSU wanted. The Bucs had played Arizona the previous season in the pre-season NIT and led the wildcats on their homecourt for most of the first half before losing 79-88. In addition to knowing their opponent well the Bucs were also Senior led team with Marty Story and Calvin Talford who had been with the Bucs through their previous 3 NCAA Tournament trips, there was also 5th year Senior Greg Dennis, who was red-shirted the previous year.

The Bucs came out firing against Arizona with great shooting and would lead the wildcats by as much as 16 points. Arizona would edge closer late in the 2nd half but their late run was not enough to beat the Bucs who finished the game shooting 50% from the field including 52% behind the 3-point line and 13 3-pointers made in total. ETSU would go on to face the Michigan Wolverines and the “Fab 5” in the second round where they would give a great effort but fall 90-102.

The win versus Arizona is without doubt the biggest win in the last 30 years for ETSU basketball and perhaps the biggest win in the history of the school and that’s why it’s the #1 moment in this top 10 list. The Bucs are still looking for that next NCAA tournament win and they’ve been close recently including being within 3 points of a win in both 2003 and 2004. I’ve included a video of the whole game against Arizona at the top of the post, so we can all relive one of the best moments in ETSU basketball history.

I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I enjoyed writing it. While it was very difficult to decide on just 10 moments I felt like these 10 truly are the best. If you disagree please feel free to comment below and tell me your favorite moments.

A complete recap of the top 10:
#10: 2009 A-Sun Championship
#9: Calvin Talford Winning the Dunk Contest.
#8: First win against Tennessee
#7: 2003 Southern Conference Championship
#6: 2003-2004 Season
#5: Keith Jennings being named a second-team consensus All-American
#4: The 1989 Southern Conference Championship
#3: 3 Straight wins over NC State
#2: First Top 25 Ranking
#1: 1992 NCAA Tournament win against Arizona

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