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Sue Guevara talks about Central Michigan's NCAA Tournament bid. Evan Petzold, Special to Detroit News

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Mount Pleasant — In its 50th year of women’s basketball, Central Michigan earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

The Chippewas (28-4, 17-1 Mid-American Conference) on Monday were announced as the No. 11 seed in the Spokane Region, and will open against No. 6 LSU (19-9, 11-5 SEC) at 11 a.m. Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

CMU coaches, players and fans gathered Monday night to watch the bracket reveal, just two days after securing the bid with a 96-91 MAC tournament championship victory over Buffalo in Cleveland.

“Seeing your name go up on the big screen is awesome,” Guevara said Monday night, during the watch party at Hunter’s Ale House. “I think it’ll be a good matchup, and it’s in Columbus where our fans can go, so I think that’s even better.”

A win in the first round would give Central an opportunity to play against either No. 3 seed and pod host Ohio State or No. 14 George Washington next Monday.

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Presley Hudson talks about Central Michigan's NCAA Tournament bid. Evan Petzold, Special to Detroit News

The Chippewas have never won an NCAA Tournament game. They’re playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

As a No. 11 seed in 2013, Central was knocked out in the first round by No. 6 Oklahoma, 78-73. Guevara also went to the NCAA Tournament three times as the head coach at Michigan.

The furthest Guevara has taken a team in the Big Dance was No. 8 Michigan to the second round in 2001, but the Wolverines then were bounced by No. 1 Notre Dame, 88-54.

“I don’t want to do the two-step: One step in, one step out,” Guevara said. “I want to cha-cha a little bit. We want to go and show people that the MAC is a very, very good conference and we have good coaches in this league.”

Buffalo, the team CMU defeated for the MAC tournament title, received an at-large bid and the No. 11 seed in the Albany Region, giving the MAC two bids.

Also in attendance at the watch party Monday night was athletic director Michael Alford and men’s basketball coach Keno Davis.

SPOKANE REGION

Central Michigan vs. LSU

Tip-off: 11 a.m. Saturday, Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio

TV: ESPN 2

Records: No. 11 Central Michigan 28-4, 17-1 Mid-American Conference; No. 6 LSU 19-9, 11-5 SEC

Outlook: CMU aims to earn its first NCAA Tournament victory in program history. Prior to 2018, the Chippewas played in the 1983, 1984 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments, but fell short in the first round each time.

Evan Petzold is a freelance writer.

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