Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt
West Region, Round One
Thursday, March 16, 3:30 pm CDT
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City

As Northwestern's online and social media campaign has assured us, It's Time.

Finally time for the Wildcats to step onto the court that they first helped to unveil in 1939: the NCAA Tournament. NU will do so as a #8 seed and a 2.5-point underdog to #9 seed Vanderbilt, in a battle of private school academic elites. Lose, and history will still have been made, and the 'Cats will have put a foundation stone in place for a new and promising program. But, win. . .

A win over the Commodores would be the biggest win for the program and would put NU on a collision course with #1 Gonzaga.

Initially, the 'Cats seem to line up well with Vandy. At least, their footwear will: the Wildcats will be sporting gold and white Under Armour shoes that have a distinctly Commodorian appearance. Dancing shoes!

Deney Terrio, eat your freakin' heart out.

Vandy's coach, Bryce Drew, played for his father's school, Indiana's Valparaiso, and Drew is famous for his own heroics at the Tournament as a player. Drew is a terrific coach, and his 2016-17 team is going to be a terrific challenge, despite its fifteen-loss record, a near-record for the Tourney.

ESPN's research shows that, since 1985, there have been eight teams to make their NCAA Tourney debut as a tenth seed or better. Of the seven before NU, four have won their first round games, and one-- Florida in 1987-- won its second round match.

Ready to make more history?

Pick: 'Cats dance, for one more round-- NU 68, Vandy 64 (pick based on shoes alone)