For the first time since 1992, Howard will be dancing in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bison’s historic season was the topic of conversation during media availability on Wednesday.
“We talked about it in the moment,” said Bison guard Jelani Williams when asked if the team got a sense of how meaningful Howard’s MEAC championship win was. “We talked about it at practice and in workouts. Every day we have talked about leaving a legacy, this is the first time Howard has been in March Madness in 31 years. While we’re appreciating that moment we’re doing our best to stay in the moment we are in and prepare for this game.
The moment was especially special for Williams who hit the free throws that sealed the victory for the Bison in the MEAC title game against Norfolk State.
Howard has a chance to repeat history in the tournament when they face the defending national; champion and No. 1 seed Kansas in the first round.
The Bison are looking to become only the second 16-seed to ever knock out a No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament.
When asked if facing the defending national champions gives Howard any added motivation, Steve Settle III explained that while this is a great opportunity for the team, they are “taking it like it’s another game.”
The madness begins 🚦#thedreamfactory pic.twitter.com/KRLAFQy68n
— Howard Men’s Basketball (@HUMensBB) March 15, 2023
“Definitely it’s a great opportunity to showcase our talents on the biggest stage of college basketball,” Williams adds.
Interestingly enough their tournament run will open on the 5th anniversary of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County’s monumental victory over Virginia.
When coach Kenny Blakeney was asked about the anniversary of UMBC’s victory, he simply said “it’s certainly something we are aware of as a program.”
Meanwhile, Williams spoke about a personal connection he has with UMBC’s win as he was in a position to do the same at another school.
“I was a freshman at Penn that year and we played Kansas as a 16 in 2018 so I did know that was the five-year anniversary, an interesting coincidence.
Settle added, “Yeah definitely a surreal feeling, and know that it can be done. We’re going to keep that in mind and play our game.”
Howard and Kansas are set to tip off Thursday at 2:00 p.m. ET with the game airing on TBS.
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