UMass reaches NCAA Tournament for first time since 1998 - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

UMass reaches NCAA Tournament for first time since 1998

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AMHERST, MA (WSHM) -

The last time the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team reached the NCAA tournament, more than 25 percent of the squad was barely out of diapers.

Now, those youngsters hope to follow their upper-classmen on a long postseason run.

The Minutemen and their fans reacted with shouting and jumping to the news Sunday night that they will be part of this year's NCAA tournament.

During the selection show, it was announced that UMass will be the six-seed in the Midwest bracket and face the winner of a first-round game between Iowa and Tennessee.

The Minutemen's game will take place Friday in Raleigh, NC.

Once the emotions calmed down, coach Derek Kellogg told CBS 3 how much it means to him, as a former UMass player, to lead his team back to the big dance.

"Well 15 years has been a long time and this is something that we've worked long and hard for," said Kellogg.  "Not only our staff, but our families and giving our time and effort to the community and the basketball program. So to see it come to fruition and to have your name called on Selection Sunday is a testament for a lot of hard work from a lot of people from the basketball program and throughout the university."

It was not just the team celebrating Sunday evening at the Amherst Brewing Company, as plenty of UMass fans were in attendance.

They told CBS 3 that this is a day they have been waiting for for some time.

"This is the first time we've made the tournament in 16 years," said Will Shen, a UMass student.  "It's a huge, exciting moment, and the fact that we're getting matched against an opponent I think we can beat easily when the time comes is very exciting. We're definitely going to go very far in the tournament."

Should UMass win their first game on Friday, they will likely face Duke in the next round.

The third-seeded Blue Devils will take on 14-seed Mercer in their opener.

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