- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - No. 6 seed Creighton (25-9) vs. No. 11 seed Rhode Island (24-9)

First round, Midwest Regional; Sacramento, California; Approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT.

HOMETOWN KIDS: Two Creighton players from Omaha have been a big part of the program’s 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years. Big East Freshman of the Year center Justin Patton averages 13.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks and has 71 dunks - he’s also second in the country in field goal percentage at .694. Conference Defensive Player of the Year Khyri Thomas tallied 51 steals and averages 12.4 points.

MATTHEWS’ COMEBACK: Atlantic 10 championship Most Outstanding Player E.C. Matthews got another shot this season after losing last year to a torn ACL in his right knee - and he is ready to help the program do something special after such a long wait.

A DROUGHT ENDED: An eager Dan Hurley sat down at the podium before the moderator and chuckled. “First time in 18 years,” the fifth-year Rhode Island coach quipped, referring to his program’s first NCAA bid since 1999. The Rams are 3-5 in their NCAA openers and have a nine-game losing streak against Big East opponents.

REAL DANDY: The only previous meeting between the schools was a dandy: Creighton rallied from 12 points down in the final 3 minutes, 10 seconds to win 74-73 in the 2008 NIT. Cavel Witter hit a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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