Welcome to March, and some of the least-productive work days of the year.* March Madness tips off on March 19 and 20 with the First Four tournament, and then the real fun begins on March 21 with the first round.

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If your alma mater was not selected for this year’s tournament (🙋) and you’re looking for a bandwagon to join for the next few weeks, here’s a capsule look at all of the Catholic colleges and universities who are part of the field of 68.

*I’m totally kidding, editors. (Kind of.)



(13) Saint Louis University
Catholic affiliation: Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Nickname: Billiken
Atlantic 10 (A-10)
Star players:
Javon Bess, Tramaine Isabell Jr.
Tournament outlook:
The Billikens are definitely a surprise for this year’s tournament. They finished in the middle of the A-10 during the regular season, but really came to play in the conference tournament. They defeated Davidson College in the conference semifinals and St. Bonaventure University in the tournament final.


(1) Gonzaga University
Catholic affiliation: Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Nickname: Bulldogs
Conference: West Coast Conference
Star players: Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke
Tournament outlook: The Bulldogs are a ridiculously good team and have a decent shot at winning the whole thing. Gonzaga has never won an NCAA Men’s Basketball championship, but have made the Elite Eight twice since 2015, and lost in the national championship in 2017.

(5) Marquette University
Catholic affiliation: Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Nickname: Golden Eagles
Conference: Big East
Star players: Markus Howard, Sacar Anim
Tournament outlook: Marquette is one of those teams that could either lose in the first round or go on a run to the Elite Eight. For their sake, let’s hope it’s the latter.

(11) St. John’s University (New York)
Catholic affiliation: Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian)
Nickname: Red Storm
Conference: Big East
Star players: Shamorie Ponds, LJ Figueroa
Tournament outlook: The Red Storm was sent to Dayton for the First Four, and will be playing Arizona State for a chance to play Buffalo in the first round. They were the last team in, per the chair of the selection committee. St. John’s had some big wins during the regular season, but also had some head-scratching losses. It will be interesting to see which version of the team comes to play.


(6) Villanova University
Catholic affiliation: Order of St. Augustine (Augustinian)
Nickname: Wildcats
Conference: Big East
Star players: Phil Booth, Eric Paschall
Tournament outlook: Villanova won the National Championship last year. While they definitely aren’t as talented this year, they are still a team that could make some noise come March.

(11) Saint Mary’s College of California

Catholic affiliation: De La Salle Brothers
West Coast Conference (WCC)
Star players:
Jordan Ford, Malik Fitts
Tournament outlook:
Saint Mary’s upset Gonzaga in the WCC final, and by doing so dashed the dreams of several bubble schools. Can they keep the magic going during the Big Dance? Probably not, but anything is possible.



(10) Seton Hall University
Catholic affiliation: Archdiocese of Newark
Nickname: Pirates
Conference: Big East
Star players: Myles Powell, Quincy McKnight
Tournament outlook: Seton Hall has been one of those schools that has been all over the place this year. Despite having one of the worst defenses in the Big East, they managed big wins over Kentucky, Marquette, and Villanova. The season seemed to be trending upwards, so perhaps they have figured things out by now.

(16) Iona College
Catholic affiliation: Congregation of Christian Brothers
Nickname: Gaels
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
Star players: E.J. Crawford, Rickey McGill
Tournament outlook: Iona earned its dance card with its fourth-straight MAAC championship. It is the first school in the history of the conference to win four straight men’s basketball championships. The Gaels are a 16 seed, however, and 16 seeds have won exactly one game in the history of the tournament–so don’t expect too much this year.