Villanova Wildcats to play Radford Highlanders in first round of NCAA Tournament

Joel Hernandez carried the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds to the NCAA Tournament but was unable to get past Radford’s tenacious defense Tuesday night in Dayton Ohio. AP

Radford, the Big South champion, is making its third tournament appearance and first since 2009.

The last two years, SportsLine's computer simulation correctly predicted nine out of 12 double-digit NCAA Tournament upsets in the first round with their computer algorithm.

The victory saw the Highlanders winning their first-ever NCAA Tournament game in school history, while setting a new school record with 23 wins this season, exceeding the 22 wins posted in 1990-91, 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Carlik Jones had a substantial and loud cheering section at University of Dayton Arena, a lot of folks traveling about an hour up Interstate 75 from his Cincinnati hometown to see him play for Radford in a First Four game.

Just because the men's basketball team won't be playing in the NCAA Tournament it doesn't mean Dayton won't get to experience the madness.

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Radford moves on to play Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East Region. With AP Photos.LIU-Brooklyn, victor of the Northeast Conference Tournament, faces off against Radford on Tuesday night in the opening First Four game in Dayton, Ohio. With 16:35 left to go, back-to-back 3-pointers gave the Blackbirds a 38-35 lead, their first advantage since they led 3-2 at the 19:17 mark in the first half.

Devonnte Holland of the Radford Highlanders is fouled by Julius van Sauers of the Long Island Blackbirds in the first half of the First Four game in the NCAA Tournament at UD Arena on March 13, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio.

Ed Polite, Jr., and Travis Fields, Jr., led the Highlanders with 13 points each while Carlick Jones netted 12 points, 11 boards and seven assists for Radford, who enjoyed a balanced offense attack.

BOTTOM LINE: Northeast Conference Tournament victor LIU-Brooklyn makes its first appearance in the tournament in five years. But the Highlanders played well and won the conference tournament as the second seed.

The Highlanders' defense helped limit LIU Brooklyn's leading scorer, Joel Hernandez, to just eight points.

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