PEORIA, Ill. (WIFR) It's not every year the Rockford area has a rooting interest in the NCAA tournament. However, the Stateline has two former stars to watch this weekend and one of those is Antoine Pittman.
After finishing the regular season with a 13-point loss to Loyola Chicago, the Braves went on a memorable run through the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Bradley won its first MVC tourney championship since 1988.
"Always dreamed of being part of March Madness," said Pittman. "Being able to live out this dream is incredible."
It's just the second time in the last 13 years the Braves will be dancing in March. Pittman has appeared in 18 games this year, helping Bradley to back-to-back 20-win seasons.
"That's what we worked for all year. Even though we hit a wall during the year, once we got our groove back, we knew we could come back, and we knew we could win the tournament coming in," said Pittman.
"It's all about finishing the regular season strong, on the right foot, which we did, and having that momentum carry us through the MVC tournament and we came out champions."
Bradley enters the field as a 15-seed. The Braves open the NCAA tournament on Thursday in Des Moines, IA against second-seeded Michigan State. That game follows another Rockford native in action. Boylan grad Brock Stull and ten-seed Minnesota will look to upset six-seed Louisville.