Wright State eager to find out first-round NCAA tournament foe

Wright State basketball coach Scott Nagy doesn’t know where his team will be seeded when the NCAA tournament bracket is announced Sunday night.

But he is certain of one thing:

“Whoever we play next is going to be a tremendous basketball team,” Nagy said.

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The Raiders will gather Sunday night at the WSU Student Union for a selection show watch party open to the public, and they will find out shortly after 6 whom their opponent will be.

After that, Nagy will have one question for his players.

“Do we view ourselves as beating that team? Because if we don’t, then we’ll play that way,” he said. “So it’s very important that you view yourself in a way that you know you can win. We know that every team we play now is going to be a great team, but I told our guys, they’re also going to play a great team. That’s the way we have to view it.”

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That’s certainly how Nagy and his assistants will view it, because before some of the fans make their way home from the watch party to print the brackets they will fill out for their office pool, the coaches already will be holed up in their offices breaking down film of not only their first-round opponent, the two possible second-round foes.

“One of our coaches will take the team that we’re playing next, and the other coach has to get ready for the other two teams,” he said. “So there’s a lot of film to watch between the three teams that you could possibly play.

“The players know how much time our assistant coaches put in to get them ready,” Nagy added. “It’s not only getting all that information, but breaking it down enough where we’re not giving them too much, but we’re giving them the information we think they need.”

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Wright State figures to land a seed similar to what it received in the school's other two trips to the NCAA tournament. The Raiders were seeded 16th in 1993 and lost to No. 1 Indiana. They were 14th in 2007 and lost to No. 3 Pittsburgh.

"It's been that way for so long for teams at our level," said Nagy, whose South Dakota State teams were seeded 14th in 2012, 13th in 2013 and 12th in 2016.

The Jackrabbits were a 16 seed in 2017, and they’re back in the tournament this year, projected as a 13.

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“Unless you just go and play an unbelievable non-conference schedule, which quite honestly when you get better and you get to the level we are now, it’s difficult to do because a lot of those teams don’t want to play you and they’re certainly not going to come here and play us,” Nagy added. “So it’s not easy to put a schedule together that would allow us to be anything but a lower seed right now.”

ESPN bracket expert Joel Lunardi has the Raiders projected as a 15 seed facing No. 2 Cincinnati in Pittsburgh.

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has WSU as a 14 playing No. 3 Tennessee in Nashville.

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Senior Grant Benzinger said he doesn’t care who, when or where it is.    All that matters is WSU made the field in his final chance.

“This was my main goal coming into this year,” he said. ” That was the only thing I wanted. I wanted it bad. When we got to the tournament, on our scouting reports I wrote ‘It’s your destiny’ on every single one.

“I couldn’t imagine not going,” he added. “It doesn’t define me as a man if we went or didn’t. But it’s definitely something I’ll hold for the rest of my life. I’m just glad we’re doing it.”

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