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Ticket punched, Islanders face SEMO in First Four round on Tuesday

Ticket punched, Islanders face SEMO in First Four round on Tuesday
Posted at 11:00 PM, Mar 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-14 00:05:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders (23-10, 14-4 SLC) are facing the same situation as last season. Win and get in. The Islanders men's basketball program found themselves back in the NCAA DI First Four as a 16-seed.

"To be able to go back-to-back in the NCAA Tournament is really hard to do," Steve Lutz, Islanders men's basketball second-year head coach, said. "You know, especially the fact that this is a brand new group of guys that came in here a year ago and they didn't know me, I didn't know them and they didn't know one another."

This marks TAMU-CC's third trip to the tournament in program history and second consecutive appearance. The Islanders are set to face South Eastern Missouri (19-16, 10-8 Ohio Valley Conference) in the First Four. SEMO will make its second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1999-00.

"We got some new guys. We've just got to bring them on board and just get their mind ready for the game on Tuesday," Isaac Mushila, Islanders senior forward, said. "Personally for me I'll be fine because I've been there already."

The Islanders first NCAA DI Tournament appearance was in 2006-07 under head coach Ronnie Arrow. That season TAMU-CC went 26-7, falling to Wisconsin 76-61 in the first round. The Islanders have a chance to win their first tournament game in program history.

"I mean I knew we were going to get seeded. I just didn't know where, but I'm glad they put us where they put us," Jalen Jackson, Islanders senior guard, "We're going to be one of the first two games in the tournament, so all eyes are going to be on us and I think that will help us get rolling."

The Islanders' First Four matchup tips off on Tuesday, March 14 at 5:40 p.m. in Dayton, OH. TAMU-CC is holding a watch party at Brewster Street-Southside. A win on Tuesday sends the Islanders to Birmingham to battle 1-seed Alabama on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. on CBS.