Northwestern Earns 1st NCAA Tournament Berth In Program History

(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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