March 11, 2012
BEAUMONT - On Saturday, Lamar University knocked off McNeese State 70-49 to earn its first berth to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament since 2000. On Sunday, the Cardinals learned they would face Vermont in a First Four game from Dayton, Ohio.
The Cardinals and Catamounts, who will both be No. 16 seeds, will square off in the early game on Wednesday (March 14) with tipoff set for 5:30 p.m. from University of Dayton Arena. The game will be televised nationally on truTV. The winner will then travel to Greensboro, N. C., to take on No. 1 seed North Carolina on Friday.
Lamar will head into the game on a six-game winning streak and sporting a 23-11 record. It is the Cardinals' first 20-win season since 1988 and their highest win total since the 1983-84 team finished 26-5 under Pat Foster.
Pat Knight becomes the third head coach in school history to lead the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament in his first season, joining Foster (1980) and Mike Deane (2000).
The Cardinals are making their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first trip to the First Four round. This is the second year the NCAA Tournament has featured the First Four as the field was expanded from 65 to 68 teams last year.
Lamar is 5-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 1980.
Vermont, which won the America East Tournament and has the same 23-11 record as Lamar, will be making its fifth trip to the tournament. The Catamounts made their first trip in 2003, and have been as recently as two years ago.