The First Four matchup between Texas Southern and North Carolina Central will be historic for many reasons Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio.
For the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament, the HBCU participants will be opposing each other.
Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis, and his opposite North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton, will be first set of HBCU coaches to square off in the tournament.
And a win by either school will mark that program’s first Division I NCAA Tournament victory.
The Tigers (15-19) started the season with 13 consecutive losses before rallying to win the SWAC Tournament to secure the automatic bid for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
They are the only team in the 68-team field carrying a losing record.
“I feel better this year than I’ve ever felt going into the tournament,” Davis told the assembled media. “This is the first time we have the opportunity to go to the NCAA Tournament with good players at every position; we have a legitimate point guard, we have a legitimate big guy (and) a legitimate scorer.”
For North Carolina Central (19-15), they had similar struggles to start the regular season, then played well in the MEAC and then won its last five to make the field.
It is the Eagles third trip to the NCAA Tournament under Moton.
“We are happy to be here because there are 200 and something programs that didn’t make it, who are probably crying right now,” Moton said. “I’ve been on that side of the coin, so I’d rather feel it on this side.”
Tale of the tape
Record: 15-19 overall, 12-6 in the SWAC
KenPom ranking: 249
Sagarin ranking: 66.7
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL
Record: 19-5 overall, 9-7 in the MEAC
KenPom ranking: 308
Sagarin ranking: 63.4
Texas Southern (-4.5) vs. North Carolina Central
Texas Southern, 59.6 percent chance to advance
5:40 p.m. Central