By Bradford Brooks:
Let the madness begin because the 2018 NCAA tournament is officially under away. Two historically Black colleges are set to play against one another in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this week after each won its respective conference championship over the weekend. The matchup is historic, as teams from Black colleges typically gets matched up against predominately white institutions. The South Western Athletic Conference champion Texas Southern Tigers (15-19) will be facing off against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina Central Eagles (19-15) in the round of 4 opening round on Thursday. TSU lost its first 13 games of the 2017-18 season before winning three straight against Southern, Alcorn State and Prairie View in SWAC play. But they got hot at the end of the season and are on a seven-game winning streak, including sweeping its way to a SWAC Tournament title.
The Eagles earned their automatic bid to the tournament with a 71-63 win over Hampton in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament. Both of these schools made it to the NCAA tournament last year. For central they fell short to UC Davis in the opening round 67 to 63, while Texas Southern was knocked out by North Carolina in the first round 103 to 64. Both of these schools are coming into March with experience in March as this will be Texas Southern 4th appearance in March and this will be North Carolina Central’s 3rd trip to the tournament and they will both be looking to win their first ever game in the NCAA tournament. Following this game, the winner of this matchup will be an underdog in the round of 64 as they will be squaring off against number one seed Xavier who many believe will blow out either one these teams. MEAC and SWAC teams have historically performed rather poorly. For, the MEAC is 6–32 all time in the NCAA tournament and the SWAC is 2–31.But just about anything can happen in the month of March. HBCU’s have won their fair share of game in the tournament and will look to make history again. Remember when North Carolina A&T won it first game back in the 2013 versus Liberty University. What about when the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions defeated Winthrop back 2010. And let’s not forget when the Norfolk State Spartans shocked the world as they were a huge underdog as a number 15 seed and knocked off number 2 seeded Missouri back in 2012 NCAA tournament. HBCU’s rarely are favorites entering their matchups against predominantly white power house’s but there is always a chance for them to play spoiler and make history and in this historical matchup between Texas Southern and North Carolina Central it makes for another opportunity.