Photo by: WRTV image

It’s time to go dancing!

By: Molly Schramm

CINCINNATI โ€” March Madness is upon us, and both the Xavier Musketeers and Northern Kentucky Norse are going dancing!

The No. 16 Norse will be playing the No. 1 Houston Cougars on Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama. NKU (22-12) was selected within the Midwest region of the tournament.

The Cougars (31-3) fell to Memphis Tigers 75-65 on Sunday in the the AAC Tournament championship game. Despite not winning the tournament, Houston did knock out the UC Bearcats in a 69-48 semifinal win. The Bearcats weren’t selected in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

This is the Norse’s third time since transitioning to Division I that they’re going to the Big Dance. The Norse secured their spot after a 63-61 win against Cleveland State in the Horizon League championship game March 7.

This will be NKU’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2019, when they fell to No. 3 Texas Tech in the first round. That Red Raiders team went on to the National Championship.

Last season, the Norse just barely missed the tournament after falling to Wright State 72-71 in the Horizon League championship game.

No. 3 Xavier will face off with the No. 14 Kennesaw State Owls on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Muskies (25-9) are also in the Midwest region of the bracket.

This is the Musketeers first time back to the Big Dance after they missed it for four straight seasons.

Ahead of the NCAA tournament, Xavier fell to Marquette 65-51 Saturday in the Big East championship game. The Owls (26-8) won the ASUN Tournament after beating the Liberty Flames 67-66 on March 5.

The No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats will also see the Big Dance when they face the No. 11 Providence Friars on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Wildcats (21-11) fell to Vanderbilt 80-73 in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament. The Friars (21-11) fell in the Big East Tournament to the Connecticut Huskies.

The NCAA Tournament kicks off March 14 with the First Four, and the National Championship game is held in Houston on April 3.

You can check out the full NCAA March Madness bracket below:

Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati

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