College Basketball Nation: North Carolina A&T Aggies

Seven things to know from Thursday

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
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1. Harvard won an NCAA tournament game for the first time in program history. The Crimson defeated No. 3-seed New Mexico. Harvard is the first 14-seed or lower from the Ivy League to win an NCAA tournament game.

2. Since seeding began in 1979, the 46-point victory by 5-seed Virginia Commonwealth over No. 12 Akron was the largest margin of victory ever by any team seeded lower than 2. That record lasted for about an hour. Syracuse, a 4-seed, broke it with a 47-point win over Montana.

3. Southern's six-point loss against Gonzaga was the closest by a No. 16 seed against a No. 1 seed since 1996, when Western Carolina lost by two against Purdue. Southern is only the fifth No. 16 seed in the past 20 years to come within single digits of a 1-seed.

4. Vander Blue's go-ahead layup with one second remaining against Davidson was the first game-tying or go-ahead shot made in the final 10 seconds of a game in the past two NCAA tournaments. Prior to Blue's shot, players missed the previous 22 attempts in those situations, dating back to the 2011 NCAA tournament.

5. With Butler's win over Bucknell, Brad Stevens is now 12-4 in the NCAA tournament. Stevens is the seventh coach to win at least 12 of his first 16 NCAA tournament games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only coaches with a better record in their first 16 NCAA tournament games are Tom Izzo and Steve Fisher.

6. Russ Smith had eight steals for Louisville in its win over North Carolina A&T, matching the most in any NCAA tournament game (steals became official in 1986). The last player with eight steals in a game was North Carolina's Ty Lawson in the 2009 national championship game.

7. With its loss to No. 12-seed California, UNLV, a No. 5 seed, became the third team ever to lose four consecutive games in the round of 64 as the higher seed, joining Clemson (1998-2010) and BYU (1995-2009).

Video: North Carolina A&T 73, Liberty 72

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
12:05
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North Carolina A&T fights off Liberty in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, 73-72. A&T will now face Midwest No. 1 seed Louisville.
Saddle Up is our semi-daily preview of the night's best basketball action. On Tuesday, it's the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.

No. 16 North Carolina A&T vs. No. 16 Liberty, 6:40 p.m. ET, truTV

Here’s the bad news. The winner of this First Four matchup will face Louisville, the top overall seed in the tournament, on Thursday in Lexington, Ky. So it’s like, “Hey, you win!” quickly followed by, “And you kind of lose, too.” But a win is a win. And both teams can snap their lengthy droughts in the NCAA tournament.

Neither team has ever won an NCAA tournament game. So tonight will be a first for one of these squads. North Carolina A&T has been to the Big Dance nine times but not since 1995. Liberty has gone twice (1994, 2004).

So history is certainly on the line.

Liberty will represent the Big South even though the Flames finished the regular season with a 6-10 conference record. They’ve lost 20 games. But they won the conference tourney. And that’s what matters. John Caleb Sanders has one of the best names in the entire tournament, and he leads the Flames with 14.2 PPG.

The Aggies of North Carolina A&T are on a four-game winning streak. They’ve forced turnovers on 23.7 percent of their opponents’ possessions per Ken Pomeroy, 20th in the country. But that number is inflated by the level of competition the Aggies have faced in the MEAC. But their defensive aggression could be the difference in this matchup.

No. 11 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 11 Middle Tennessee, 9:10 p.m. ET, truTV

Some people questioned the Blue Raiders’ inclusion in the field of 68. They lost two games in the weak Sun Belt conference and they failed to win their conference tournament. But they’ve also won 28 games. That includes a win over SEC tourney champion Ole Miss.

They’re ranked 20th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy.

And the Blue Raiders have the poise, experience and talent to pull off a VCU-like run in the NCAAs. Plus, they’re going to play with a chip on their shoulder because so many folks have doubted them.

But advancing past Saint Mary’s won’t be easy. If Gonzaga were in a different league, the Gaels would be the undisputed kings of the West Coast Conference. The Zags have defeated Saint Mary’s three times this season. The Gaels also have losses to Pacific, Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa. A BracketBusters win over Creighton was impressive.

The jury is still out, however, on the Gaels. Is this a program that’s just been misjudged based on its losses to the No. 1 team in America? Or is this a squad that’s as average as its nonconference losses suggest that it is?

We’ll find out soon. Matthew Dellavedova (15.8 PPG, 6.4 APG) is a magician with a basketball. But the Blue Raiders’ pressure could make the Australian star and his teammates disappear.

Yes, that was corny. I know. Enjoy the tournament.

ESPN.com's MEAC preview

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
7:30
PM ET
Before we get to the Blue Ribbon team-by-team previews for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, here is Eamonn Brennan's quick wind sprint through the league:



Blue Ribbon breakdowns of all 13 teams in the MEAC: Insider

Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State
Delaware State
Florida A&M
Hampton InsiderFree
Howard
Maryland Eastern Shore
Morgan State
Norfolk State
North Carolina A&T
North Carolina Central
Savannah State
South Carolina State

3-point shot: Judging the Seminoles

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
5:00
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1. Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said late Saturday night after the Seminoles crushed North Carolina that he wanted to wait to see how his team responded this week before fully judging its potential. Well, the Seminoles beat Maryland by 14 at home Tuesday night. Not bad. Duke is next in Cameron on Saturday.

2. Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman is still idle as he waits and waits for the administration to see if he’ll be reinstated after South Carolina State president George Cooper alleged that Bozeman struck Bears player Larry Bastfield. The Bears are 1-2 with Bozeman off the bench (he can’t conduct practice, either). The Bears host North Carolina A&T on Saturday.

3. Marshall coach Tom Herrion said Central Florida’s Isaiah Sykes did hit him in the sternum and that is what forced him to fall back on the bench and then stumble to the floor before he regained composure during the Herd’s win over UCF on Saturday. The bizarre video shows Sykes appearing to come into contact with Herrion as Sykes is running down the sideline in front of the Herd bench. Sykes received a flagrant 1 foul. Conference USA spokesperson Courtney Morrison-Archer said the league reviewed the incident and the officials made the correct call and no additional penalties are forthcoming.

ESPN.com's MEAC preview

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
8:10
PM ET
Before we get to the Blue Ribbon team-by-team previews for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, here is Eamonn Brennan's one-minute wind sprint through the league:



Blue Ribbon breakdowns of all 13 teams in the MEAC:

Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State
Delaware State
Florida A&M InsiderFree
Hampton
Howard
Maryland Eastern Shore
Morgan State
Norfolk State
North Carolina A&T
North Carolina Central
Savannah State
South Carolina State

More MEAC content:

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