INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.

The Hoosiers are the No. 12 seed in the East region and will take on fellow 12 seed Wyoming in the “First Four” in Dayton on Tuesday night at 9:10 p.m.

“A lot of these guys have been sitting on the sideline for some years watching NCAA basketball being played in March and never really knowing what it’s about,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “Now they get an opportunity come Tuesday to play in the tournament and win.”

Indiana was firmly on the NCAA bubble after losing seven of their last nine regular season games, but upsets against Michigan and Illinois in this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament helped secure one of the last at-large berths.

There were some tense moments as the Hoosiers watched the selection show. Three regions were announced before they finally saw their name flash on the screen.

“We were super nervous, just super anxious just because we were the last region,” said senior guard Rob Phinisee. “Everyone knows we can compete with anybody in the country. Those two wins were huge and we’re just going to carry that momentum over to Tuesday.”

“I think it’s a beautiful thing,” Woodson added. “I’m so thrilled because these guys have worked their butts off to get to this point and I want to see them move on. I want to see us continue to win.”

If the Hoosiers get past the Cowboys, they’ll head to Portland to take on No. 5 seed St. Mary’s on Thursday.

“This is what you play for,” said Woodson. “It’s not going to be hard for me to get these guys to understand what’s at stake here. We’re in the tournament. We want to try to stay in the tournament. That’s what it’s all about.”

“Everyone is just looking forward to going to Dayton and playing against Wyoming,” Phinisee said. “Everyone knows we haven’t been to the tournament since 2016. It’s huge for our state, huge for our fan base, and everyone is just looking forward to it.”