Here's how the @UAlbanyWBB team reacted when it learned its 1st-round NCAA opponent was 4X defending national champ UConn: pic.twitter.com/apQkiVS8lC
— Spectrum News Albany (@SPECNewsAlbany) March 13, 2017
The University of Albany qualified for the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight year, after winning the America East conference for the sixth straight year. For their efforts, they get to play the University of Connecticut, a squad that has won 107 straight games. As they sat down to watch the selection show last night, however, the Great Danes were not thinking of UConn, they were just wondering where they'd wind up. That changed very quickly.
As an automatic bid, they were realistic in their expectations. Most on the team figured they'd be somewhere in the teens—in their previous five-year run they had landed anywhere from the No. 12 seed to the No. 15—but they had never been a No. 16. Welp, now they are.
Not only is Albany a 16 seed, they are most likely the lowest of the four No. 16 seeds because they drew UConn, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. The team's reaction, captured in the video above, could best be described as say whaaaaaaaaat?
"It's definitely a slap," said UAlbany senior guard Imani Tate. "I completely, 100 percent thought we would be a higher seed ... at least a 15. We were just starting to sit down and we were all saying, 'OK, who is going to play UConn?' And then it was like, 'Oh, it's us!"
At least they are looking at it as an extra bit of motivation, but that might only take them so far: "Over the past eight years, the Huskies have won their first-round NCAA games by an average of 49.3 points." The low key devastating thing about this is that it is framed in terms of margin of victory rather than, you know, a won-loss record.
Anyway, best of luck to the Great Danes.
h/t Business Insider