UTC vs. Indiana
› When: 7:10 p.m. EDT Thursday
› Where: Wells Fargo Arena; Des Moines, Iowa
› Records: UTC 29-5; Indiana 25-7
› TV/Radio: CBS/96.1 FM
› Series history: Indiana leads, 2-0
› Last game: Indiana won 78-53 on Nov. 23, 2011
Greg Pryor had a good night of sleep on Sunday.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior point guard and his teammates had found out they were a 12 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament and playing Indiana in the first round at 7:10 EDT Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa.
This is the first time in seven seasons that the Mocs have won the Southern Conference tournament championship, and ended a skid of five consecutive years of the program losing its first game in the league tournament.
That climb finally felt complete when "Chattanooga" was displayed on the screen as one of the 68 teams selected for the national tournament.
"I slept well, once I realized we finally got who we were playing," Pryor said Monday. "The selection show is a nervous wreck for me. Just sit there knowing that you've got to wait to see who you're playing is a different type of feeling.
"It was very exciting, though."
After they got the first SoCon tournament win over Samford on March 5, the Mocs were able to get two more and qualify for the so-called Big Dance. They were slotted Sunday into the East Regional, which is filled with some of the most prestigious programs in the country.
The Mocs (29-5) know they will face five-time national champion Indiana in the first round. They are on the same side of the bracket as eight-time national champion Kentucky and five-time national champ North Carolina, meaning that should the Mocs win those three potential games, they would have defeated three of the highest profile programs in the history of college basketball.
In addition, Kansas and Connecticut, winners of a combined seven national titles, are in the South Regional and will be playing their first-round games at Des Moines.
But the Mocs' road starts with the Hoosiers, who won the 2015-16 Big Ten regular-season championship.
"It's exciting," UTC coach Matt McCall said. "Our first-round opponent is one of the most historic programs in the history of the sport. We're on the biggest stage in college basketball right now and our guys are excited, but we have work to do here. We just have to stay focused on our job.
"The biggest thing for the next couple of days is for our team to not get caught up in the hoopla of the NCAA tournament."
Chuck Ester said the key for the Mocs to deal with all that surrounds the event is just "going out there and having fun."
"Indiana is a great team," he said. "They always have been a great program, but we're ready to take on the opportunity. We don't know much about them yet, but we just have to play hard, out-tough and out-work them.
"It should be fun."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.
Men's Division I Basketball ChampionshipView