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NCAA Basketball March Madness

Albany Great Danes Capture NCAA Tournament Opener

Albany Great Danes

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The best time of the sports year is now officially upon us.

The 2014 NCAA tournament kicked off with the First Four in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday night, and the Albany Great Danes became the first tournament team to record a win. They did so by defeating fellow No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s by a score of 71-64.

D.J. Evans and Peter Hooley led the way for coach Will Brown‘s Great Danes. Evans had a phenomenal all-around game with 22 points and nine rebounds and his backcourt mate Hooley also chipped in 20 points of his own. Albany’s win marked the school’s first ever in the NCAA tournament.

The Mountaineers got a huge performance from Will Miller off the bench. The 6-foot-6 freshman drained 7-of-12 threes en route to 21 points.

Mount St. Mary’s fought hard to make this contest close. The Great Danes stormed out of the gate on a 19-2 run and it looked as if the Big Dance’s first game was going to end up being a blowout. In March Madness, though — as we all know — no game is ever over till the clock strikes double zeros.

Coach Brown and the Great Danes will surely celebrate this terrific accomplishment, but it won’t be for very long. Albany now moves on to matchup with the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, the Florida Gators. That game is set to take place on Thursday afternoon in Orlando, Fla. at 4:10 p.m.

Will this finally be the year we see a 16 beat a one? Probably not, but with the win tonight, at least Albany gave itself a shot to do so.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27.