UE’s NCAA tournament drought as a program dates back to 1999, yet Aces fans will find a number of links to this year’s field.
—Creighton (7th seed Midwest Region) and Wichita State (9th seed West Region) represent the Missouri Valley Conference, marking the second year in a row the league received two bids in the NCAAs.
—Former UE player Kareem Richardson works as an assistant coach at Louisville (1st seed Midwest, No. 1 overall). Craig Snow, another former Ace, is director of operations on Steve Alford’s staff at New Mexico (3rd seed, West Region). Longtime head coach Jim Crews is also operating with an interim title at Saint Louis (4th seed Midwest).
—Counting MVC foes twice, UE played seven games this season against teams that ended up in the NCAA tournament: Creighton, Wichita State, Butler (6th seed, East Region), Notre Dame (7th seed, West Region) and Colorado State (8th seed, Midwest Region).
—The MVC will serve as the host for second- and third-round games this Friday/Sunday in Kansas City. Creighton will play Cincinnati out of the Big East Conference in Philadelphia and Wichita State also against a Big East opponent, Pittsburgh, in Salt Lake City.