Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO men’s basketball will play Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in NCAA tournament first game

Sunday, March 12, 2023
The SEMO men's basketball team cheer in reaction to the announcement of their first four matchup opponent while fans cheer behind them. The team was attending the Selection Sunday public showing event at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau Missouri on March 12, 2023.
Photo by Branton Beard

The SEMO men’s basketball team will be entering the NCAA tournament for the first time in 23 years and will be playing Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in the First Four round of the tournament. Entry to the tournament for the Redhawks came from their recent win of the OVC tournament, where they entered as the fifth seed, but exited as OVC champions.

The SEMO Redhawks will play in the First Four of the NCAA March Madness tournament on Tuesday, March 14 at 5:40 p.m. CT.

A Selection Sunday show was held on CBS Sports Network naming the college basketball teams to their specific seeds and who their competition will be in the upcoming tournament. A public showing of this show was held in the Show Me Center on March 12 at 4:45 p.m.

During the selection show, CBS cut to a shot of each team's watch party and the Redhawk community was shown celebrating their team spirit on college basketball's biggest stage.

SEMO’s opponent, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is from the Southland Conference. As a team they had an overall record of 23-10.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is led by senior guard Trevian Tennyson who averages 15.7 points per game. In the Southland Conference Championship game, Tennyson had 14 points, shooting at 77.8% from the field in their 75 to 71 win against the Northwestern State Demons.

The Redhawks head coach Brad Korn is working to prepare his players for their debut in the NCAA tournament. It will be Korn’s 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament.

“It’s all eyes on us,” SEMO head coach Brad Korn said.

“I always thought we had the potential,” Korn said. “I just give all the credit to the guys.”

Korn credited his squad for never folding under pressure, even when facing adversity like losing streaks. He coined all of his players as “competitors and winners.” Korn said he is excited to bring his players to a tournament that he describes as “basketball Christmas.”

“We’re all excited to be here, this is what we set out to do,” OVC tournament MVP Chris Harris said. Harris led the team in scoring with 26 points during the Championship game.

“We feel ultra confident, and we are even more excited to get here now, because we believe so much more in what we do now,” Harris said. He also enjoyed hearing Coach Korn’s “basketball Christmas” analogy, and said “if you keep winning, you get more gifts.”

“It really doesn’t matter to us who we play, we are just focused on SEMO playing the best basketball we can play,” Redshirt senior Israel Barnes said. Barnes played a pivotal role in the closing minutes of the OVC Championship game by scoring 19 points and leading the team in minutes played.

“Whoever they deal out for us we’ll be ready to take them head on,” Barnes said. He said he couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to perform on the big stage saying, “it’s a dream for all of us.”

Redhawks senior center Nate Johnson said that the Redhawks will be playing in the tournament in their own way.

“Expect us to play team basketball, us playing Redhawk basketball. The things that got us into this situation are the things that are going to lead us as far as we can get into any situation,” Johnson said.

Coach Korn said he was thankful for everyone who came out to support his players at the NCAA March Madness selection show watch party.

“People forget what you say, they never forget how you make them feel. Our guys are going to remember this moment for the rest of their lives because of the work they put in, so they are rewarded for that,” Korn said.

Watch the Redhawks play Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi at 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14 on TruTV.