The final NCAA men's basketball tournament matchup CBS announced Sunday night made history.
CBS' Greg Gumbel revealed Seton Hall as a sixth seed, and immediately, Derrick Gordon stood up with hundreds of fans behind him at Walsh Gym and yelled into his phone: "We are going to the tournament. We are going to the tournament."
When the Pirates (25-8) face 11th-seeded Gonzaga (26-7) at 9:57 p.m. ET on Thursday, Gordon will become the first athlete who has announced publicly he is gay to play in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The game will be broadcast on truTV, and the announcers will be Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, and Jamie Erdahl. The game is at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
After the bracket announcement, Jay Bilas praised Seton Hall's potential for a tournament run during ESPN's "Bracketology" show.
"Seton Hall is the one team in the bottom of that bracket that can give [No. 2-seeded Michigan State] the hardest time," Bilas said.
This is Gordon's third trip to the NCAA tournament. He reached the 2012 tournament with Western Kentucky and the 2014 tournament with Massachusetts. It was 19 days after UMass lost to Tennessee in the 2014 tournament that Gordon announced his sexuality publicly in an Outsports story.
In addition to being the first openly gay athlete in the tournament, Gordon will become the first player to reach the tournament with three programs. "It's great I made history, and I want to keep making history. I want to be able to lead this team to a Final Four run," Gordon said to NorthJersey.com.
In 2012, Gordon scored 11 points in WKU's play-in game win, but he's never been past the first round. He expects that to change this year.
"We can make it to the Final Four," Gordon told the Asbury Park Press on Saturday night after Seton Hall won the Big East Tournament championship.
Gordon with the Big East trophy (from Gordon's Instagram).
Gordon had 10 points and three rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench during Saturday's 69-67 championship game win over Villanova. Seton Hall won the Big East Tournament for the first time since 1993.
This season, Gordon is averaging 7.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.0 steal in 23.6 minutes per game. He ranks third on the team in assists and fifth in points, rebounds and steals.
"I think we're playing better than any team in the country right now," Gordon said Sunday night
On the bench for CollegeInsider
Central Michigan men's basketball graduate assistant coach Ryan Mizner learned Sunday his season will continue. Central Michigan hosts UT-Martin in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Central Michigan is 17-15 this year after losing to Bowling Green 62-59 in its opening game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on March 10.
Mizner announced publicly he is gay in an Outsports article before the start of this season.