As many people fill out their brackets and predict who will be crowned the national champions after the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, two HBCU teams hope to serve as bracket busters and rise against the odds.
The two HBCU teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament are Texas Southern, who have gotten there for the second consecutive year, and MEAC dark-horse Hampton. The two teams had varying degrees of success throughout the season and were able to be invited to the big dance after winning their conference tournament. Though they have initially been given low seeds, Hampton has to play in the first round which is a virtual play in, these two squads hope to go from unknown to the story of the tournament.
Hampton University (16-17, 8-8 MEAC) had a very up and down year finishing just under .500 for the season before their conference tournament. Throughout the year Hampton averaged one point less per game than their opponents and were very unspectacular across the stat sheet. In the conference tournament however, the Pirates came out of the gate motivated to dominate their opponents.
HU convincingly handled all of their match ups with their closest margin of victory being a five point victory over Maryland Eastern Shore. Throughout the conference tournament Hampton used an increased offensive prowess and tough defense to secure their victories and now hope to carry that over to their game against Manhattan for the right to be a 16th seed in the tournament.
Texas Southern University (22-12, 16-2 SWAC) is making their second appearance in the NCAA tournament in as many years after winning the SWAC Conference Tournament again. TxSU was able to dominate the SWAC all year behind a stifling defense and a modest offensive game plan.
After entering the SWAC tournament on an eight game winning streak, the Tigers were able to slip past Southern in a tight four point victory to give TxSU 11 straight wins heading into the tournament. They were placed in the 15th seed and will take on Arizona in their first game.
As these two teams look to be David and take on Goliath, it is their hope that they can bust everyone’s brackets but their own.