BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The madness is officially here! 68 teams are now looking to become the top dog of college hoops, including the Retrievers of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Students are still celebrating Saturday’s victory that put them in the big dance.
The men’s team had lost to Vermont 23 times in a row before beating them on Saturday.
For the second time in school history, the Retrievers are putting on their dancing shoes.
Students say the victory should have the world taking notice.
On Saturday, with seconds left and a flick of the wrist, Jarious Lyles punched the UMBC Retrievers’ card to the big dance.
“This is the best time in the history of UMBC,” one school official said.
The excitement of the dogs’ first trip to the tournament in a decade is spreading across the 13,000 student campus.
“It’s obviously a big deal going to the tournament, going to the dance,” said UMBC student Christian Thompson.
“We’re actually having a lot of parties in support of the team, ” UMBC student Tiffany Muldrow said. “It’s really quite awesome.”
“It’s been really hyped up, extremely hyped up,” UMBC student Ryan Kasrii said. “Everybody is really, like, happy about it.”
The school which has racked up dozens of awards on the chess boards, now looks to add some hardware from the hardwood, while proving doubters wrong.
The Retrievers are the only Maryland men’s college hoops program in the tournament.
Students say Marylanders – and the rest of the world – should take notice.
“Not just College Park can go to the tournament,” Thompson added. “That our team is actually pretty good.”
With a Goliath match-up against #1 overall seed Virginia, students still have hope.
“We’re ready for everything,” one player said. “We come to games with the expectation to win.”
Student are planning to head to Charlotte to cheer on the team.
“A lot of my classmates and peers are talking about going in support,” Muldrow said.
“I wasn’t [going to go], but now that you’ve put the idea in my head, maybe,” one student said.
Students know that anything can happen during March Madness.
So far, the school has not announced any plans for a send-off celebration for the team.
Tip-off for the game is set for Friday at 9:20 p.m. You can catch the game on TNT.