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Boston University gets Kansas in NCAA tournament; BC, Harvard left out

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  March 13, 2011 06:24 PM

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Boston University was the only school from the Boston area to earn a bid to the NCAA men's basketball tournament when the field was announced Sunday. The Terriers are the No. 16 seed in the Southwest region. They'll face No. 1-seeded Kansas on Friday in Tulsa, Okla.

"I haven’t had this feeling in a long time, since I was at Villanova and we were the last team in," BU coach Patrick Chambers said. "You’re sitting there and you’ve got butterflies and the suspense and then we when you see we’ve got Kansas, you're like, wow, we get to go to Oklahoma and play Kansas, what a great thrill for these guys, for this program, for this university."

Boston College (20-12) had hopes for an at-large big but failed to qualify for the field. The Eagles were hurt by a blowout loss to Clemson (70-47) in the ACC Tournament.

"It seems like we were a tale of two teams this year," BC junior guard Reggie Jackson said. "We were very up and we were very down. We really didn't put people away. We had some close wins and we had some tough losses."

BC accepted a spot in the National Invitation Tournament, and will face McNeese State Tuesday at 9 p.m. in St. Charles, La.

"The season's not over and we're not going to hang our heads," Jackson said. "We battled and we did what we did and did what we could with a first-year coach and I'm proud of how we responded throughout the whole season. Yeah, we're a little bitter from not making the tournament, but it's still a great season."

Harvard also had an outside shot at an at-large bid after losing the Ivy League title to Princeton yesterday, but the Crimson were not selected as an NCAA Tournament team. Harvard will face Oklahoma State in the NIT Tuesday in Stillwater, Okla., at 7:30 p.m.

BU (21-16) won its sixth America East league title with a victory over Stony Brook on Saturday. The Terriers now stare down the daunting statistic that no No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No.1 seed in NCAA men's basketball tournament history.

“I don’t know much about them. I do know their players, I recruited two of their players when I was at Villanova, the Morris twins because they're from Philadelphia and I should say Tyshawn Taylor, he went to St. Anthony’s," Chambers said. "So I know those guys pretty well. I know [coach] Bill Self pretty well. I know what he likes to do. I’m familiar with his staff I know they're a very talented group who like to push the ball, so we just have got to get better tomorrow, play defense, rebound and just compete, that all were looking for.”
Chambers hopes tough non-conference matchups prepared BU to face Kansas.

“We played Kentucky at Kentucky. That's why you have the tough non-conference [schedule] that we did, played Villanova, GW, we had a tough non-conference, so that’s why you do it [to prepare] for games like this,” he said.

BU senior guard/forward John Holland wasn't fazed by the fact a No. 16 has never pulled off an upset in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s got to happen eventually, so you never know,” Holland said.

Junior guard Matt Griffin said he spent part of the day reading online speculation about where BU might end up playing its tournament opener.

“I was just very excited, you know. It’s a day I’ve dreamt of my entire life, and finally to get a chance to sit down and actually watch your own school get its name called, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Griffin said.

The University of Connecticut was the only other New England school to earn a tournament bid. The Huskies earned a No. 3 seed in the West region by virtue of their incredible five wins in five days at the Big East tournament this week. UConn will take on Bucknell in a first-round game Thursday.

Globe reporter Michael Vega contributed to this report.

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