The first invitation to the NCAA Tournament's exclusive Sweet 16 party has been officially mailed out ... and it has an SEC address.

On Saturday, 3-seeded LSU squandered a sizable second-half lead before rallying back for a 69-67 victory over Maryland.

The hero of this back-and-forth classic: Tremont Waters' driving layup with 1.6 seconds left cemented the Tigers' berth in the East regional.

Prior to his life-changing shot, Waters hadn't buried a three-pointer all day and had collected just 10 points. 

However, that didn't scare him away from taking command of the final possession, dribbling through three Terrapins defenders and underhand-scooping his layup high off the glass.

Maryland (23-10 overall) had a few golden chances to create separation in the closing minutes; and Jalen Smith's game-tying three-pointer from the corner had seemingly been enough to force overtime.


But alas, it wasn't meant to be for the Terrapins, who had no answer for Waters' scooping score.

As the higher seed, LSU (27-6 overall) was expected to reach the next week's regional Washington D.C.

With the Tigers' win, the NCAA tournament committee avoided the potential awkwardness of having the bottom half of the East regional being an all-Big Ten affair.

LSU will play the winner of tonight's Michigan State-Maryland clash next Friday night.

In the past, previous tournament committees went out of their way to prevent intra-conference meetings, short of a regional final. 

The current committee isn't out of the woods yet, since Duke and Virginia Tech could potentially meet at the top of the quirky East region.