Bracketologists predict Wright State will play in First Four as a No. 16 seed

Although Joe Lunardi thinks the Raiders will play at UD Arena, the Horizon League champion has never been a No. 16 seed

The Wright State Raiders, who punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, could play their first game 12 miles from home next week.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi updates his prediction daily at this time of year and made his latest changes Tuesday night. After Wright State’s 72-71 victory against Northern Kentucky in the Horizon League championship game, he predicted the Raiders would receive a No. 16 seed and play another No. 16 seed, Northeast Conference champion Bryant, at UD Arena in the First Four, which will take place March 15-16.

Jerry Palm, of CBS Sports, also thinks Wright State would play in the First Four as a No. 16 seed in his latest update Wednesday. Brian Bennett, of The Athletic, had the same prediction.

Wright State won the Mid-Continent Conference championship in 1993 and was a No. 16 seed in its first NCAA tournament appearance. It lost 97-54 to No. 1 seed Indiana in Indianapolis in the first round. In its last two appearances as the Horizon League champion, Wright State was a No. 14 seed. It lost 79-58 to No. 3 Pittsburgh in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2007 and 73-47 to No. 3 Tennessee in Dallas in 2018.

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Since 2001, when the Midwestern Collegiate Conference turned into the Horizon League, the conference has never had a champion get a No. 16 seed. Last year’s Horizon League tournament champion, Cleveland State, was a No. 15 seed.

The 2019 champion, Northern Kentucky, was a No. 14 seed. NKU received a No. 15 seed in 2017. Green Bay was a No. 14 seed in 2016. Valparaiso received a No. 13 seed in 2015 and a No. 14 in 2013. Milwaukee was a No. 15 seed in 2014. The last single-digit seed was No. 8 Butler in 2011.

Wright State last played at UD Arena on Dec. 13, 1997, losing 94-63 in the last Gem City Jam, the series that brought together the Dayton area’s two Division I teams. Wright State and Dayton played five times at UD Arena and three times at the Nutter Center between 1988 and 1997.

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