March Madness is here, and two Archbishop Ryan High School graduates are part of the action
Chris Mooney, class of 1990, coached Richmond to the Atlantic 10 Conference title, with upsets of Dayton and Davidson. The Spiders will face Iowa [coached by former La Salle High and Penn player Fran McCaffery]. The two Irishmen will square off at 3:10 p.m. on Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day.
Meanwhile, Izaiah Brockington, Ryan class of 2017, is averaging 17.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for Iowa State, which will face LSU on Friday at 7:20 p.m.
There are 68 teams hoping to capture the championship.
Four “First Four” games were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with first-round games set for Thursday and Friday and second-round matchups on Saturday and Sunday.
Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games will be played next week at four locations, including the Wells Fargo Center. The East Regional semifinals and final will be played on March 25 and 27. Times are to be determined.
Villanova is the only local team that qualified for the tournament, but the Wildcats were placed in the South Regional and will not enjoy any kind of home-court advantage if they make the regional semifinals.
Nonetheless, local basketball fans will probably see some good games at Wells Fargo. If the higher seeds advance, there could be a doubleheader of No. 1 and defending champion Baylor vs. No. 4 UCLA and No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Purdue.
For ticket information for the local games, visit https://onlocationexp.com/ncaa/ncaa-tournament-east-regional-tickets or ncaa.com/exchange.
This year’s Final Four is in New Orleans. A champion will be crowned on April 4 at the Superdome.
Villanova, the second seed, faces No. 15 Delaware on Friday at 2:45 p.m. in Pittsburgh. ‘Nova senior guard Collin Gillespie was the Big East Player of the Year.
If Villanova wins its opener, a second-round opponent could be Loyola Chicago, which made a Cinderella run to the 2018 Final Four, cheered on by its biggest fan, Sister Jean, the now-102-year-old nun who will be courtside in Pittsburgh.
Overall, the biggest storyline in the tournament is whether Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will be able to win another championship before he retires at the end of the season.
Championship prediction: Auburn defeats Kentucky ••