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March Madness: The 2 times Wright State went dancing in the NCAA tournament

Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 8:41 AM
By: Max Filby - Staff Writer

The Wright State University Raiders are going to the big dance for the first time in 11 years.

With their win over Cleveland State University in the men’s Horizon League championship on Tuesday, the Raiders have secured a spot in the NCAA tournament, thanks in part to the automatic qualifier that comes with being a conference champion.

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The team and their coaches will find out who they face on Sunday. Until then, here’s a look back at the two previous times Wright State’s Raiders made it to March Madness and the Division II national title that helped them elevate their profile in the first place.

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1. No. 16 Wright State in 1993

Wright State’s men’s basketball program transitioned from Division I to Division II in 1987 and just six years later they punched their first ticket to the tournament.

On Selection Sunday that year, the Raiders became the underdogs when they found out they would face Big 10 champion and top seed Indiana at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, according to WSU.

Wright State ended up losing to Indiana by 43 points, 97 to 54 but the loss helped boost the program which would get another trip to the NCAA tournament 14 years later.

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2. No. 14 Wright State in 2007

In its second trip to the tournament, Wright State faced big competition in the opening round. But, the Raiders themselves were more highly ranked, coming in as a No. 14 seed as opposed to a 16 seed 14 years earlier.

The Raiders faced off against No. 3 Pittsburgh. The Raiders ended up losing to Pittsburgh by 21 points, 79 to 58.

Florida went on to be crowned the national champion that year.

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BONUS: Wright State’s D-II national title, 1983

In just its 13th year of existence, Wright State won the Division II national title in 1983.

In its first Division II Final Four appearance, WSU defeated California State-Bakersfield 57 to 50.

In the finals, Wright State faced off against the University of the District of Columbia, a team that was seeded the overall No. 1 entering the tournament. But, Wright State pulled off the victory, winning the game 92 to 73 and securing the Division II title.