Four Triangle teams off to the ‘Dance’

Mar. 16, 2014 @ 08:36 PM

All four of the Triangle’s major college basketball programs got invitations Sunday night to the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

N.C. Central (28-5), which received an automatic bid by virtue of its MEAC Tournament title win on Saturday, received a No. 14 seed and will face No. 3 seed Iowa State (26-7) in the East region opening round Friday in San Antonio, Texas.

NCCU will play in its first NCAA Tournament game in school history.

North Carolina will join NCCU in San Antonio.

UNC (23-9) earned the No. 6 seed in the East region and will face No. 11 Providence (23-11) in its opening game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Friday. The Friars won the Big East Tournament to earn an automatic berth and are appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.

This is the third time UNC is a No. 6 seed — the Tar Heels went 1-1 in both 1996 and 2004. UNC last played in San Antonio in the 2008 Final Four, when it lost to Kansas in the semifinals at the Alamodome.

Duke (26-8) — despite losing 72-63 to Virginia in the ACC Tournament championship game Sunday — will stay close to home to start the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils were placed in the Midwest Region as the No. 3 seed. They will play 14th-seeded Mercer (26-8) at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Friday.

Mercer earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Atlantic Sun tournament.

N.C. State (21-13) received a surprise on Sunday when it earned a spot in the field of 68. The Wolfpack will play Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio as part of the First Four games against Xavier (21-12). The winner of the N.C. State-Xavier game will be the No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region and will play fifth-seeded Saint Louis in Orlando on Thursday