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2019 First Four Preview

East Region

Dayton, OH

#16 North Carolina Central over #16 North Dakota State

Coach LaVelle Morton has got to be familiar with Dayton, as he has led the Eagles of North Carolina Central to the MEAC Championship and had to play in the play-in game. NCCU has yet to win a tournament game, but they are certainly due. North Dakota State will be on the other side of the floor, making their first trip to the tournament in four years. The Bison finished the regular season with a losing record before being a surprise winner in the Summit League.

#11 Belmont over # 11 Temple

For 33 years, Rick Byrd has manned the bench the Belmont Bruins, taking them from NAIA to the NCAA. Over the years, Belmont a tiny Christian University based in Nashville has become a powerhouse in the Ohio Valley Conference, with seven NCAA Tournament appearances, but they have yet to win a tournament game. Picked as an at-large team for the first time, they will reward the faith of the committee by beating Temple in the First Four and perhaps going on a little run when it gets to the field of 64.

West Region

Dayton, OH

#16 Farleigh Dickinson over #16 Prairie View A&M

After getting off to a dreadful 1-11 start, Prairie View has been one of the hottest teams in the nation, as they have lost just one of their last 22, including a dominant 17-1 record in the SWAC. Farleigh Dickinson also was the top team in their conference all season, winning the NEC regular season before their tournament run. The Knights of FDU are among the top three-point shooting teams, which always seems to give teams an upper hand when the matchup is even.

#11 St. John’s Over #11 Arizona State

After a 12-0 start, St. John’s has been one of the biggest letdowns in the Nation in conference play even with the Big East suffering a down year. It could be argued that the Red Storm are the least deserving team in the tournament and are certainly among the last two in, playing Arizona State in the First Four. That being said, when you look at the talent on both rosters, this is a game that St. John’s should find a way to win as the Sun Devils have been far too inconsistent all season.