MEAC/SWAC: Who’s going to the big dance?
Here are the HBCU teams, male and female, joining the March Madness
Congratulations! Your historically black college and university made it into the NCAA Division I Tournament. What does that mean? Well, some teams — both Texas Southern’s men and women’s teams and Hampton’s women’s team — made the tournament outright. All three of those teams have earned a spot as a 16- or 15-seed in their respective tournaments.
For North Carolina Central’s men’s basketball team, things are a wee bit more complicated. The Eagles will play in a game called the First Four. To get to No. 1 seed Kansas, they will have to play the University of California-Davis at the University of Dayton in Ohio to determine who will play in the second round with the other 64 teams.
This is a guide of what you need to know regarding your alma mater in the tournament, the team it’s facing, when and where it’ll be going down, and what a win would mean.
NO. 2 Duke VS. NO. 15 Hampton (WOMEN)
Time: Saturday, 9 p.m.
Place: Durham, North Carolina
Region: Bridgeport, Connecticut
The Hampton Pirates are steamrolling into this year’s NCAA tournament on a six-game winning streak after winning their sixth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship under coach David Six. To reach March Madness, the Pirates had to go through a conference foe it had lost to earlier in the season, Bethune-Cookman.
Hampton got off to a quick start and won in a tight 52-49 victory. The Pirates had a quiet three years after winning five consecutive MEAC tournaments from 2010-2014.
Awaiting the Pirates are the Duke Blue Devils, who return to the NCAA tournament after missing its first March Madness in 22 years.
NO. 16 north carolina central VS. NO. 16 UC-Davis (MEN)
Time: Wednesday, 6:40 p.m.
Place: Dayton, Ohio
Region: Midwest Regional
This is the second time North Carolina Central is playing the NCAA Division I tourney, and the Eagles are doing something they’ve never done in program history, making their way to Dayton, Ohio, to participate in the First Four. This is the first time since 2014 that NCCU is participating in the tournament, when the team lost to No. 3 Iowa State, 93-75.
NCCU will duke it out with UC-Davis, the Big West Tournament champs, for the honor of playing No. 1 seed Kansas in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Aggies are newcomers to the NCAA tournament and are being carried by All-Big West first team players Brynton Lemar and Chima Moneke, who was also named Newcomer of the Year. Lamar led UC-Davis in scoring with 16.0 points a game, while Moneke put up big numbers in the paint with 9.5 rebounds and 14.5 points per contest.
NO. 1 Baylor VS. NO. 16 texas southern (WOMEN)
Time: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Place: Waco, Texas
Region: Oklahoma City
This is Texas Southern’s first trip to the big dance, and the Tigers won’t exactly have to leave their own backyard for the game. Baylor will welcome Texas Southern in the opening round, meaning the Tigers will only have to travel three hours northwest for their first game.
Joyce Kennerson, all-SWAC first-team guard and tournament most valuable player, tied for the conference’s scoring leader title, putting up 18.3 points a game and scoring 20 or more points in all but four of Texas Southern’s last 15 games.
Texas Southern is playing a Bears team that has won 30 or more games in seven straight seasons, including its 2012 national championship, in which the team went 40-0. That was the same season that Baylor beat the Tigers 91-39, on Nov. 30, 2012, and the last time the two teams squared off.
NO. 1 north carolina VS. NO. 16 texas southern (MEN)
Time: Saturday, 9 p.m.
Place: Greenville, South Carolina
Region: South Regional
This is the fourth straight postseason berth Texas Southern has garnered, and the team enters its contest against North Carolina after victories over Alabama State, Grambling State and Alcorn State to win their third Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in four years. Should the Tigers win, which no No. 16 seed has ever done, they would not only become the first team to do so, but would earn their first win in the NCAA tournament.
The Tar Heels are led by ACC player of the year Justin Jackson, who averaged more than 18 points per game and second-team All-ACC guard Joel Berry, who posted nearly 15 point per game coupled with 3.7 assists.
Texas Southern has the SWAC player of the year in Zach Lofton, who led the conference in scoring during the regular season (17 ppg), SWAC freshman of the year Demontrae Jefferson (14.9 points per game, 3.3 averages per game), and SWAC defensive player of the year and SWAC tournament MVP Marvin Jones.