You get your bracket and fill it out. Lets face it, the easiest pick is the number 1 seed beating the 16. It’s a no brainer. But one day, David will sleigh Goliath. Is this the year?
The Hampton University athletics program was tabbed as the top-ranked NCAA Division I Historically Black College & University (HBCU) program on Monday, based on the final standings of the 2009-10 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup.
Colleges get direct payments from the telecast based on a complicated formula that takes into account the school’s athletic conference, how many teams from that conference make it to the tournament and how far each advances. Sometimes, these payments are split evenly throughout the conference, allotted even to those teams that do not make the tournament. For example, Morgan State University, one of the lesser teams in the tournament, got $291,000 for appearing last year. The 12 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference — which includes last year’s winner, the University of North Carolina — evenly split a hefty $15,863,538.
When Todd Bozeman faced the news media Friday, he was pleasant but far more somber than he had been a day earlier as he talked about Morgan State’s chances against West Virginia in the opening round of the N.C.A.A. tournament.
Bozeman’s 15th-seeded Bears were crushed by No. 2 West Virginia, 77-50, but he told his players not to let the defeat mar what had been a heroic season. Heroic, not because of victories or a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship, but for displaying grace under pressure during a season of heartbreaks.
BUFFALO — Some quick observations from West Virginia’s first-round walkover of Morgan State:
The best news for WVU: for the first time in a long time, the Mountaineers didn’t have to count on Da’Sean Butler to win. Butler had nine points but it was Devin Ebanks (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Kevin Jones (17 points, 8 rebounds) who carried the day for the Mountaineers. Contributions from Ebanks and Jones is critical as teams try to lock out Butler.
Don’t be fooled by the Mountaineers’ lack of size. West Virginia is always going to be undermanned when you look at height and weight, but the Mountaineers’ athleticism makes up for any deficiencies. WVU beat a bigger Morgan State team on the boards by 10, continuing a trend of out rebounding opponents all season.
Bob Huggins was able to get some minutes for his bench against Morgan State. That could be important on Sunday against Clemson or Missouri. Both teams will try to run WVU ragged. The bench guys needed to shake out the cobwebs and did more than that, contributing 27 points for WVU.
Morgan State goes home for the second consecutive year with a big gap in the scoring margin. It can’t be overstated just how difficult it is for an HBCU school to compete. Todd Bozeman has done an admirable job getting good players who play hard but the dollar discrepancy is a killer when it comes to the difference in making the tournament and being an actual player.