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Yale Heads to Providence to Take on Baylor in NCAA Tournament

The Yale men's basketball team reacts to learning its opponent in the NCAA Tournament. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale men's basketball team reacts to learning its opponent in the NCAA Tournament. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Earn No. 12 seed in West Region

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's basketball team, Bulldogs alumni and fans erupted in excitement at John J. Lee Amphitheater Sunday night, as the team was announced during the CBS NCAA Tournament selection show.

"Euphoria," said senior Justin Sears, following the selection show Watch Party at Lee Amphitheater. "That's the best way to describe it."
 
Yes, the Bulldogs have plenty to be excited about. They are going dancing for the first time in 54 years and making the program's fourth NCAA tournament trip.
 
Yale earned a No. 12 seed in the West Region and will play No. 5 Baylor on Thursday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The time of the game has yet to be announced.

Baylor (22-11) is coming off a loss to Kansas in the Big 12 Conference tournament semifinals. The Bears will be making their 10th NCAA tournament appearance. Last year they were upset by Georgia State in the round of 64.

This will be the first meeting between the Bulldogs and the Bears. 

"We believe we can beat anyone we face, and we have the confidence we can," sophomore Makai Mason said. "So I think we're going to surprise some people." 

The Bulldogs secured their NCAA Tournament berth when they won the Ivy League title with a 71-55 win over Columbia on March 5.  The Bulldogs come in to the tournament with plenty of momentum, having won 17 of their last 18 games. The Bulldogs are 22-6 and 13-1 in Ivy League play. Yale has a chance to post the most wins since the 1906-07 team, which went 30-7-1.  

Yale flirted with an NCAA tournament berth last season, falling just short after a loss to Harvard in a playoff game.

"For me, it's gratification of a job well done and finally it's there," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "Finally, you got it done and you feel great about it. We've been close so many times. Now we finally finished the job."

Along with an NCAA tournament berth and Ivy League title, Yale has earned other accolades during the banner season. Sears was named Ivy League Player of the Year for the second straight season. He was also a first-team All-Ivy pick, along with teammates Mason and Brandon Sherrod. It's the first time in school history three Bulldogs have been named to the first team in the same season. Senior Nick Victor earned honorable mention recognition.

Meanwhile, Jones was named league coach of the year for the second straight season.

Earlier this week, the Bulldogs toured the NCAA Basketball Committee venue in New York City and enjoyed the Big East championship game at Madison Square Garden. On Sunday night, they cut down the nets on their home floor to celebrate the Ivy League title. 

"It's a good time and everything, so we're enjoying the moment," Sears said. "It's basketball. We go to one of the hardest academic schools in the country so basketball is a sanctuary for us. When we step on the court, our goal is to have fun. When we're having fun, we're playing well."

Filed by Chris Hunn, Yale Sports Publicity.