After waiting 33 years to get its first bid to the NCAAs last season, Morgan State waits only one to get its second. The Bears got one of Kevin Thompson's strongest performances of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lift the team past South Carolina State, 68-61. For a school that's had 21 single-digit winning seasons since 1976, getting an invite to the party means more to it than just about any school in Division I. Rarely the school with the target on its back, Morgan State handled itself well as the alpha.
DeWayne Jackson (pictured), who had 12 today, helps do-it-all guard Reggie Holmes and Thompson get the Bears to more than 75 points per game.
Player to know: No one produces more for MSU than senior Holmes. Holmes was the Player of the Year and scored 21.9 points per game this season to lead the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Quick in the passing lanes, he also gets 1.5 steals per game and probably should swipe more, if not for Morgan State's defensive schemes. And like so many players we've put in this spot, Holmes is reliable from 3 and the foul line, shooting 36 and 82 percent from those spots, respectively.
»Record: 27-9, 16-1 MEAC
»Team colors: orange and blue
»We're thinking: a 15-seed
»KenPom ranking: 149
»Best win: @ Arkansas (14-18)
»Worst loss: @ Loyola (MD) (13-17)
»Notable stat: No one on the team is taller than 6-8 yet the Bears are the 10th most efficient team in rebounding the ball on the offensive end, getting in there at a 40.1-percent clip. That's on par with Duke and behind teams like Kentucky, Kansas State and West Virginia.
»Most recent tournament history (two total appearances):
-2009 (15-seed): L in first round to Oklahoma, 82-54.