For the first time since the NCAA began playing the First Four games in 2011, there will be two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) playing each other in Dayton — North Carolina Central University and Texas Southern.
It’s kind of tough, considering one of those teams won’t get a chance to attempt to knock off one of the majors at the end of the week.
But if at least one of the HBCU bands shows up in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday, at least we’ll know the music will be tight.
Those HBCU coaches (Mike Davis at Texas Southern and LeVelle Moton at North Carolina Central) are among the African-American coaches in the 2018 NCAA tournament.
Don’t know who they are? We’ve got you covered.
RON HUNTER, GEORGIA STATE
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
Conference: Sun Belt Conference (Automatic bid with tournament title)
Record: 24-10 overall, 12-6 in conference (second place)
Opponent: No. 2 seed Cincinnati Bearcats, 2 p.m. Friday in Nashville, Tennessee
How they got here: The Panthers limped into the Sun Belt Conference tournament, winning just two of their last six regular-season games. But they got hot at the right time, winning three straight in the tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid. The Panthers set school records for 3-pointers made and 3-pointers attempted this season even though the team leader, sophomore guard D’Marcus Simonds, only shot 27.8 percent from long-range. Simonds just knows how to put points on the board, leading the league in scoring (20.9 points per game) on the way to winning the conference player of the year award and being named the most valuable player of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
Coach’s resume: Yes, we all know Ron Hunter from that viral moment when he, recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, fell out of his chair while watching his son (R.J. Hunter) hitting the long-range 3-pointer that clinched No. 14 Georgia State’s upset win over No. 3 Baylor in 2015. This is Hunter’s third trip to the NCAA tournament; he led IUPUI to the tournament in 2003.
NCAA tournament coaching record: 1-2 (two appearances)
SHAKA SMART, TEXAS
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Conference: Big 12 (At-large)
Record: 19-14, 8-10 (tied for sixth)