Each school basketball program in America begins every season with hopes of constructing it to the Massive Dance. Final yr, there have been two squads who represented HBCUs within the tourney: Howard College and Texas Southern. But, each groups received there in fully other ways. On one hand, you had Texas Southern, who entered the SWAC Match because the lowest seed and ended up defeating each common season co-champions on the best way to profitable a 3rd consecutive match title. However, you had Howard who dominated the MEAC by profitable the common season and match championships, clinching a berth to the tourney for the primary time in over 30 years.
Will anyone within the SWAC cease Texas Southern from capturing a fourth consecutive convention match title? Will Howard carry its momentum from final yr into this season and run via the MEAC once more? The jury continues to be out.
Amongst HBCU groups to pay additional shut consideration to this upcoming season Howard is clearly close to the highest of the listing. This system is returning a handful of core gamers from final yr’s roster, together with 2022-23 MEAC Freshman of the 12 months, Shy Odom. Additionally they added two excessive main transfers to the combo: Seth Cities by means of Ohio State and Dom Campbell from Notre Dame.
A participant who’s inclined for a breakout season is level guard Zion Harmon out of Bethune-Cookman. What Harmon lacks in dimension, he makes up for with grit, tenacity and a particular capability to use strain on each ends of the ground. The previous four-star recruit is coming off a season during which he earned All-SWAC Second Staff and Freshman of the 12 months honors. If he’s capable of hit one other gear this season, it’s not far-fetched to examine Bethune-Cookman combating for a spot in March Insanity.
One staff flying below the radar that everybody ought to have a watch on is the College of Maryland Jap Shore (UMES). The defensive-minded Hawks had been streaky final yr however had some particular moments which have hoop followers questioning what this system’s ceiling might be. UMES beat Temple College (the identical Temple who beat No. 16-ranked Villanova and No. 1-ranked Houston) on their residence ground and had a midseason stretch during which they received 11 out of 12 video games. Coach Jason Crafton’s Hawks led the nation–sure, nation–in steals per recreation (11.1) and compelled turnovers per recreation (19). A battle-tested roster that’s hungry to construct on the historic season they simply achieved–that’s a recipe for achievement.