“First Four” play-in game at UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Who: UC Davis (22-12, 11-5 Big West Conference) vs. North Carolina Central (25-8, 13-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)
When: Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.
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Line: NC Central by 3
Three things to watch:
1. Making the calls: UC Davis coach Jim Les has been before – both as a coach and player. He played with Bradley in the 1986 NCAA Tournament, where the Braves reached the second round. As coach at Bradley, Les led the Braves to the Sweet 16 in 2006. Eagles coach LeVelle Morton comes off his second MEAC Coach of the Year awards, leading NC Central to its second NCAA Tournament since 2014.
2. Matchup to watch: Shooting guards Brynton Lemar of UCD and Patrick Cole of NC Central will get to know each other well. Lemar, a All-Big West first-team selection, leads the Aggies in scoring (16.1) and 3-pointers per game (2.2). Cole, the MEAC MVP and first-team selection, led the Eagles in scoring (19.5), rebounds (7.0) and assists (5.7).
3. Clutch time: If UC Davis has an advantage, it’s knowing the team can make big plays in big games. The Aggies had to overcome late-game deficits to beat Cal State Fullerton in the Big West semifinals and UC Irvine in the championship game. Meanwhile, the Eagles blew away their opponents in the MAEC tournament title, winning three games by an average of 24 points.