March Madness: Howard University to play Wagner in 2024 NCAA Tournament opener

The Howard University men’s basketball team put their dancing shoes on and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament Sunday night. 

Now, they know where they’re headed to play in front of a national audience. FOX 5 was with the team when they found out.

The Howard Men’s Basketball Team spent 31 years between NCAA tournament berths between 1992 and last year when they punched their ticket.

Now, after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend, they’re going for two consecutive years.

On Sunday, they learned they’ll be playing Wagner College in Staten Island, New York.

"I feel like right now, we’re just looking to make sure that we lay the groundwork. You understand that we’re establishing this culture early so that in the future that can just be carried on, understanding that is the standard now," Bryce Harris said. 

RELATED: 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament selections revealed

In three NCAA tournament appearances, Howard has not won. This game against Wagner means they’ve got a good shot at changing that.

Both teams are 16-seeds. They’ll battle Tuesday night with the winner taking on the top-seeded University of North Carolina Thursday.

Head Coach Kenneth Blakeney says the team has battled adversity this year but they are playing their best basketball right now, and he’s thankful for this group.

"It’s about the work and it’s about the journey and that’s been where I’ve put all my energy and effort, and about our young guys," Howard University Head Coach Kenneth Blakeney said. "I call myself a teacher. And I have one of the most, I think, open, friendly classrooms that any teacher could have. So they’re willingly coming to my class to learn, to get better, to grow. So with the education of them, it’s just neat and fun to see them grow." 

Coach Blakeney says it’ll be a sleepless night for the coaching staff.

Practice is being held in D.C. on Monday, then they have a flight to Dayton, Ohio. There will be practice there, rest, and then it’s game day Tuesday.

FOX 5 will be following their journey as they head for a win.