The Richmond Register

Sports

March 16, 2014

OVC BASKETBALL: Colonels and Kansas meet in the NCAA Tournament

RICHMOND — After a week of waiting and wondering, the Colonels now know they will take on the Kansas Jayhawks Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis Mo.

A large and enthusiastic crowd of Colonel supporters filled the EKU Center for the Arts Sunday, anxiously waiting for the televised selection show to reveal the Colonels’ opponent and site of the game.

They didn’t have to wait long.

The South Region was the first announced and five minutes into the show CBS’s James Brown brought the team and the crowd to their feet when he said, “The No. 2 seed is the Kansas Jayhawks and their opponent, out of the Ohio Valley Conference ... Eastern Kentucky.”

“I was just so happy to see our name up there,” EKU junior Corey Walden said. “Everything we’ve worked for, just to see our name pop up on the screen on selection Sunday. I was happy about it.”

The Colonels and Jayhawks will play the second game of the afternoon session with tip-off scheduled immediately after the first game, approximately at 4 p.m.

The Jayhawks feature one of the nation’s best freshmen in Andrew Wiggins and will be a tall order for the Colonels, but center Eric Stutz said the Colonels will be ready to put up a fight.

“They have Wiggins, who is a lottery pick, so we’ll play against an NBA player. They’ve got length and size, so that’s what we’ll have to match up against and game plan mostly for,” Stutz said. “They are obviously a good team or they wouldn’t’ be a No. 2 seed. Without Joel Embiid (injured starting center) that really hurts them, so we’ll be all right.”

EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer said that Kansas was one of nine different teams that he thought heading into the tournament that the Colonels might be matched against.

Although he has not personally seen Kansas play on TV this season, Neubauer said, he knows any Bill Self coached team will be a tough matchup.

But he is happy with the Colonels draw, he said.

“Two things we like abut this. Obviously, we knew we were going to play a great team. But we like the idea of playing on Friday. It gives our guys one extra day to soak in the NCAA atmosphere, watch other games and get a feel for what is going on in the tournament,” Neubauer said. “Also, St. Louis is the closest site, so it’s a great site geographically. So it gives our fans a great opportunity to make the drive over to St. Louis to watch us play.”

Those fans were in abundance for the selection party and the excitement and electricity in the air made an impression on both Neubauer and the players.

“It was really cool that we had such a great crowd,” Neubauer said. “For people to come out in this weather especially, to come be a part of it, enjoy the atmosphere and celebrate our basketball team, is a great reward for our basketball players.”

“It was a great crowd. We appreciate the fans coming out. We had a lot of fun tonight,” EKU’s Glenn Cosey said.

Tickets for EKU’s game with Kansas are available at the EKU Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets are $86 or $66 per session and can be purchased by phone at 859-622-2122, by fax with the attached form at 859-622-5108, or in person at the ticket office located in room 105 of Alumni Coliseum.

All orders must be received by 6 p.m. Monday, March 17. The ticket office will open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Monday.

The winner of the EKU/Kansas game will play the winner of No. 7 seed New Mexico and No. 10 seed Stanford on Sunday.

This is the eighth NCAA Tournament appearance for the Colonels. They last appeared in the tournament in 2007 when they took on the overall No. 1 seed North Carolina in Winston-Salem NC.

 

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