The most hallowed time of college basketball is set to tip off on Tuesday night as New York City's own LIU Brooklyn takes on Radford in the opening game of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Labeled as a "First Four" matchup, the winner of this game will be rewarded with the No. 16 seed in the East Regional bracket and meet No. 1 Villanova.
LIU is coming off a surprising run to the Northeast Conference title, upsetting Wagner on its home floor in the conference championship game to secure its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2013. At 18-16, they have the second-worst winning percentage among the 68 teams invited. Texas Southern, winners of the SWAC, went 15-19 this season.
It's a dream start for head coach Derek Kellog, who is in his first year as Blackbirds head coach after nine seasons at UMass. In almost a decade with the Minutemen, Kellog made the dance just once.
A lot of LIU's success can be chalked up to senior guard Joel Hernandez, who had a monster 32-point effort against Wagner in the NEC title game. In 34 games this year, the Teaneck, NJ native is averaging 20.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
He will need the support of junior guard Raiquan Clark, who averaged 17.4 points per game this season, if the Blackbirds want to officially enter the NCAA Tournament field.
Look for LIU to try and set a quick, frantic pace as this is a team that likes to run and wear down opposing defenses. It's the only way they'll be able to break through a stout Radford defense that allowed 64.4 points per game, 14th-best in the nation.
Here is how you can catch the tournament's opening game:
LIU Brooklyn vs. Radford viewing information
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 13
Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NCAA.com