SACRAMENTO (WPRI) — For the first time in 20 years, the Ocean State is truly feeling the madness.
As the Providence College Friars geared up for their play-in matchup with Southern California Wednesday night, the Rhode Island Rams boarded a plane for Sacramento, California.
After taking home the Atlantic 10 title over the weekend, URI earned a spot in the Big Dance for the first time since 1999. It’s the first time since 1997 that both the Rams and Friars are in the tournament.
URI was selected as an 11-seed in the Midwest region and is set to square off with the Creighton Bluejays Friday afternoon. Funny coincidence, since it was those same Jays who knocked the Friars out of the Big East Tournament last week.
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Prior to the Rams’ departure on Wednesday, fans gathered at the Ryan Center to send the team off in style. Head coach Dan Hurley said his players are relishing the chance to make an impression on the national stage.
“This is a reward, having the season we had, winning the [A-10] championship,” said Hurley. “This is the reward for our players, to get on the stage in front of the country and show them who our players are and show them who our program is.”
URI will look to get their first tournament win since 1998, when they made it all the way to the Elite Eight.