(CBS) Finally, the Northwestern Wildcats are dancing.

Ending one of the most ignominious streaks in sports history, Northwestern on Sunday earned its first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. The Wildcats (23-11) are the No. 8 seed in the West Region and will face ninth-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores (19-15) on Thursday in Salt Lake City.

The team and fans gathered at Welsh-Ryan Arena for the selection show and burst into celebration upon learning their fate.

A win by Northwestern would likely set up a round of 32 matchup with Gonzaga, which is the top-seeded squad in the West Region and plays South Dakota State in the first round.

The Big Ten sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament, headlined by fourth-seeded Purdue, which is in the Midwest Region.

After winning a share of the Missouri Valley regular-season title before losing to Wichita State in the conference tournament championship game, Illinois State (27-6) was left out of the field.

Notre Dame earned a No. 5 seed in the West Region and will open against 12th-seeded Princeton. West Virginia looms as a potential round of 32 foe for Notre Dame, and Gonzaga could await in the Sweet 16.

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