March 11, 2012
BALTIMORE - Ohio State will be the first opponent for the Loyola University Maryland men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament, the Greyhounds found out at a Selection Show Celebration with many of their fans Sunday night.
Loyola and Ohio State will play on Thursday in Pittsburgh, Pa., at the CONSOL Energy Center in the NCAA Second Round. The Greyhounds earned a No. 15 seed, while the Buckeyes are the East Region's second seed. The game is slated to tip-off at 9:40 p.m., and it will be broadcast nationally on TNT with Kevin Harlan calling the play-by-play, and Len Elmore and Reggie Miller providing analysis.
"This is a great event for Loyola as a school, and we are happy to share it tonight with our fans who have been a great support to us this season," said Head Coach Jimmy Patsos, the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. "We are very excited to represent Loyola, the MAAC, Baltimore and the State of Maryland in the NCAA Tournament.
The Greyhounds are making their second all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning the MAAC last Monday. Loyola defeated Fairfield University, 48-44, in the title game to claim the league's automatic bid. In addition, Iona College earned an at-large bid to the tournament, marking the first time since 1995 that the MAAC will be represented by two teams.
Loyola's only other trip to the NCAA Tournament came in 1994 as a No. 15 seed when the late Skip Prosser led the Greyhounds to their first MAAC crown and a date in the first round against the University of Arizona. The Wildcats defeated Loyola, 81-55, in Sacramento, Calif., en route to their second Final Four appearance.
This season, the Greyhounds take a 24-8 record into the tournament. Loyola's 24 wins are tied for the second-most in school history, matching the total of the 1947-1948 team. The 1948-1949 squad holds the school record with 25 wins. The 24 victories also represent the first 20-win season in Loyola's NCAA Division I history (the Greyhounds joined Division I in 1981-1982).
Four Loyola players earned All-MAAC honors this season, led by junior forward Erik Etherly who earned a spot on the All-MAAC First Team. Sophomore guard Dylon Cormier was named to the Second Team, while sophomore guard Justin Drummond and junior guard Robert Olson were tabbed to the Third Team.
Etherly, who was also named the MAAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, leads the Greyhounds in points (13.5) and rebounding (7.5) entering the tournament. Cormier is second on the team in points (13.4) and tops in steals (1.7).
Drummond also earned MAAC Sixth Man of the Year honors with averages of 10.9 points and 4.1 points off the bench. Olson has averaged 11.2 points per game while shooting 44.2-percent from 3-point range.