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NCAA Tournament West Region: What Awaits the Frogs?

The Frogs made it.

For the first time since 1952-53, TCU has made it to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons. It’s a glorious time to be a Frog fan.

But - what potentially awaits the Frogs isn’t as glorious, and isn’t much of a welcoming gift. The Region of Death: the West region.

Defending champions, and No. 1 seed Kansas, is in the region and looks ready to go this March. UCLA is a tough No. 2 seed, even if Jaylen Clark is injured. Gonzaga, the No. 3 seed, is still hungry for its first national title, and is led by program great Drew Timme.

Even further down the region, there’s a resurgent UConn, a thriving Saint Mary’s, and dangerous squads like Northwestern, Arkansas, Illinois, and Boise State. Getting out of this region would be nothing short of a miracle.

1. Kansas Jayhawks (27-7) (13-5 Big 12)

The defending national champions have had a strong season, as us Big 12 viewers know so well, winning the regular-season title in what’s easily the best conference in the sport. However - the Jayhawks are coming into the tournament reeking with the stink of a loss, losing to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game.

During non-conference play, the Jayhawks only lost one game, and it was against another tournament team in Tennessee, and went 15-6 in Quad 1 games during the regular season, while playing only 10 games in all other Quad matchups combined (KU went 10-0 in those). Having more Quad 1 wins then Quad 2-4 games played is an incredible achievement.

Although Kansas had a tough time in January with three consecutive losses in-conference, it managed to recover and win eight of its last 10 games, in large part due to the play of Jalen Wilson, the Big 12 Player of the Year. Wilson is one of the few players who returned from last year’s title-winning team.

While the Jayhawks have introduced new players to the team, Kansas has only continued the program’s usual play. The team’s two returning starters, Jalen Wilson and DaJuan Harris Jr., are joined by freshman Gradey Dick, Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar Jr., and the Big 12’s Most Improved Player, KJ Adams. While the Jayhawks’ bench may not be as strong, the team as a whole is still ranked in the top 10 defensively, and top 25 offensively, according to KenPom. The Jayhawks have a collaborative playing style, and play with a tenacious defense, exhausting opponents on both ends of the court.

P.S.: Jalen Wilson is a crucial player for this year’s Jayhawks, and plays a very similar role to las year’s Ochai Agabji’s; he may even be more important. Wilson leads the team in both points and rebounds, averaging 20 PPG and 8.5 RPG. As Kansas has a very strong defense, but struggles with three-point shooting, the Jayhawks rely heavily on Jalen Wilson to maintain his impressive play if KU hopes to have a chance at another championship.

2. UCLA Bruins (29-5) (18-2 Pac 12)

Head coach Mick Cronin has led the UCLA Bruins to two consecutive Sweet 16 appearances, and the team is now considered a true contender for the championship title. Although the Bruins fell just short of the championship game in 2021, due to Jalen Suggs’ last-second shot, UCLA was able to put together an impressive season. And - this year’s team is even stronger than last’s, having been ranked in the top 10 of the AP rankings since Jan. 1.

UCLA has a pair of experienced leaders in Jaime Jacquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell, alongside freshmen Amari Bailey and Adem Bona. With them, the Bruins won the Pac 12 regular-season title outright, and had two separate winning streaks of 14 and 12 throughout the season. The Bruins were 7-5 in Quad 1 matchups, and undefeated in Quad 2-4 matchups.

Right now - its main concern is the absence of Jaylen Clark, the team’s second-leading scorer and premier defensive stopper, who’s out for the rest of the season with a leg injury.

This squad, like many Mick Cronin coached teams of past, is known for its stingy and tenacious defense, ranked second in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency (Tennessee is #1); the Bruins are top 10 in opponent turnover percentage. Though its offense hasn’t been as strong as in years past, mainly due to the losses of Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard, the Bruins still excel in taking care of the ball and grabbing offensive boards. With two reliable ball-handlers, who perform well under pressure, in Jacquez and Campbell, UCLA should be fine.

This squad shoots fewer three-pointers than most other teams, but it compensates for it enough in other strengths. And - while losing Jaylen Clark is a major setback, UCLA truly has a chance to win the championship without him if it continues to play at this level.

P.S.: In March, guards often play a crucial role, and UCLA is fortunate to have a reliable and seasoned ball-handler in Tyger Campbell. As a fourth-year senior, Campbell’s started in all 130 games he’s played in in his college career, and averaged 13.5 points and 4.8 assists per game this season. Though his shooting percentage has declined, Campbell remains a vital component of the Bruins’ success and will serve as the driving force behind the team’s performance.

3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (28-5) (14-2 WCC)

This season, yes, a season in which Gonzaga earned a No. 3 seed, has been somewhat underwhelming for Bulldogs fans, as Gonzaga had to share the regular-season conference title with rival Saint Mary’s (more on them later), and lost a whopping five total games.

Two of them were somewhat concerning, and humbling, losing to Texas and Purdue by a combined 37 points back in November. However, Gonzaga still secured victories against formidable tournament opponents like Alabama, Michigan State, and Kentucky. Since its overtime loss to Saint Mary’s on Feb. 4, Gonzaga has performed more like its typical self. In fact, the Bulldogs won its last nine games, including a decisive and dominant 77-51 win over Saint Mary’s in the WCC Championship game.

Drew Timme, one of the most prominent players in Gonzaga history, led the team to the WCC Championship, and became the program’s all-time leading scorer in the process. Despite his unsuccessful attempt to shoot from beyond the arc this season, Timme remains a key player within Gonzaga’s efficient offense, averaging 20.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Luckily - Gonzaga’s three-point shooting doesn’t need to come from Timme, as four of his teammates shoot triples at upwards of 40%. Additionally, the Bulldogs’ ball movement and multiple playmakers, including Timme, Nolan Hickman, and Rasir Bolton, contribute to the team’s offensive success. However, Gonzaga’s defense is not as strong, and tends to perform better when it applies pressure.

P.S.: Although a significant portion of the Bulldog’s talent comprises transfers, like Malachi Smith (Chattanooga) and Bolton (Iowa State), 6-7 junior Guard Julian Strawther has been in Spokane from the beginning, establishing himself as a reliable second scorer to Timme. Strawther ranks second on the team in both scoring (15.1) and rebounding (5.9), all while making 72 three-pointers off 42.6%, leading the team. Strawther’s averaged 18.3 points in his last eight games.

4. UConn Huskies (25-8) (13-7 Big East)

UConn began the season flawless, with a record of 14-0, as the Huskies featured an outstanding performance in the Phil Knight Invitational, including wins over Oregon, Alabama, and Iowa State. Midway through the season, though, the Huskies struggled, losing six of eight games and posting a 5-6 record in the Big East by Jan. 25th. However, UConn managed to win its final five games of the regular season, and enter with a semblance of momentum. Unfortunately for Huskies’ fans, UConn fell to Marquette by only two points in the Big East Tournament Semifinals.

The Huskies are a really formidable team with serious talent that may be a sleeper team to win this region. Adama Sango, a two-time All-Big East selection, leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.8 PPG and 7.8 RPG. 7 ‘2 Center Donovan Clingan is Sango’s backup and is capable in his own right, as he was awarded MVP at the Phil Knight Invitational. Additionally, Jordan Hawkins and Tristen Newton average 10+ PPG, and Guard Andre Jackson Jr. has been performing exceptionally towards the end of the season.

P.S.: Throughout the years, UConn has seen most of its skilled players deliver remarkable performances during March (remember Kemba Walker?), and Jordan Hawkins could be next in line. The team’s top scorer in Big East play, averaging 17.3 PPG, Hawkins achieved a scoring feat that hadn’t been done since Richard Hamilton in 1998-99. On top of his consistent scoring, Hawkins boasts a free throw accuracy of 87.9% and led the Big East in 2.8 3PMs.

#5 Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-7) (14-2 WCC)

The Gaels have established themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the country throughout the season, ranking top 10 in defensive efficiency while hovering around the top 40 in offensive efficiency.

Saint Mary’s achieved a significant victory for its program with a 78-70 overtime home win over rival Gonzaga on Feb. 4, and defeated San Diego State and Vanderbilt, while playing an intense game against Houston that resulted in a 53-48 loss in Fort Worth, TX. The Gaels even held North Texas to 33 points all game. However, Saint Mary’s doesn’t seem too prepared for the tournament, after losing 77-51 to Gonzaga in the WCC Championship.

There may be a question of whether metrics have inflated St. Mary’s achievements and composition. But - Randy Bennett has a determined group of players, led by fifth-year senior PG Logan Johnson. Johnson, who began his career at Cincinnati, is a strong contender for the WCC Defensive Player of the Year award, and is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He excels at penetrating opponents’ defense and causing disruption, while at the same time putting immense pressure on opponents at the other end of the court.

On top of Johnson, four Gaels score in double-figures, including freshman Guard Aidan Mahaney, who scores 14.5 PPG and has made 73 3-pointers at 41.2%, and 6 ‘7 Forward Alex Ducas, who scores 12.5 PPG, and has made 84 3-pointers at 41.8%.

The Gaels starting five, which includes these three players, average more than 30 minutes a game, with only one other player contributing in double figures for minutes. The Gaels’ success is ultimately built upon teamwork and a deliberately slow tempo, but it may struggle against defensive pressure.

P.S.: If Saint Mary’s is going to make a run, junior Center Mitchell Saxen will need to be at his best. 6 ‘10, 242 pounds, Saxen is an All-WCC center who had a decent season, averaging 11.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. However in some of his toughest games this season, and specifically in losses against Gonzaga, Houston, and San Diego State, he’s only averaged 4.3 points and 5.0 rebounds. In Saint Mary’s February win over Drew Timme and Gonzaga, Saxen had 15 and 11. He’ll need to carry this level of performance in with him if the Gaels want to make a run.

#6 TCU Horned Frogs 21-12 (9-9 Big 12)

We know how, and why, we got here - almost the whole team that took TCU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season returned to play for the Frogs this year. The Frogs managed a .500 record in the best conference in the country, and only lost two games in non-conference play, one to Northwestern State and another in an overtime loss to Mississippi State. The Frogs finished the season with eight Quad 1 wins, and a loss in the Big 12 Semifinals to Texas. Junior Guard Mike Miles Jr., who was selected 2nd-Team All-Big 12, led the Frogs in scoring for the second straight season.

After watching every single game, this year’s Frogs are a well-balanced team that likes to play at a fast pace on offense. Although TCU is a horrible 3-point shooting team, it makes up for it by scoring efficiently inside the arc, and no one shoots more than four 3-pointers a game. This year’s Frogs are solid defensively, forcing almost 16 turnovers a game and limiting opponents to under 31% from 3-point range. Expect the Frogs to win by scoring in the paint and/or off second-chance opportunities.

Unfortunately, as has been covered extensively around TCU circles, Center Eddie Lampkin did not travel with the team to the Big 12 Tournament, and is unexpected to return for the NCAA Tournament.

P.S.: We’ve seen it time and time again - the Frogs’ success will largely depend on the play of Mike Miles Jr. Miles, who leads the team in scoring with 17.3 PPG, has a knack for getting to the free-throw line by penetrating opposing defenses, and that should be key in this tournament. On top of his success from the line, Miles shoots an impressive 57% from inside the arc.

#7 Northwestern Wildcats (21-11) (12-8 Big Ten)

Northwestern completely outperformed its pre-season prediction by finishing in a tie for second place in the Big Ten after being picked to finish 13th by media members. The Wildcats had a remarkable run during a five-game winning streak in February, which included wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State on the road, followed by upsets against No. 1 Purdue and No. 14 Indiana. The Wildcats capped off this impressive stretch with a 20-point win over Iowa.

After a 78-year wait, Northwestern earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2017 under head coach Chris Collins. Yet, the program has struggled in the following five years, never finishing above .500, or higher than 10th in the Big Ten. This season, with Collins still at the helm and named Big Ten Coach of the Year, the Wildcats have returned thanks to seven Quad 1 wins and a strong turnover margin that ranks among one of the best in the nation.

P.S.: Boo Buie and Chase Audige have been key contributors for Northwestern this season, as Buie leads the team in scoring with 17.1 PPG and Audige adds 13.8 PPG. Audige was also recognized as the Big Ten’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, thanks in part to his league-leading 76 steals.

#8 Arkansas Razorbacks 20-13 (8-10 SEC)

Arkansas had a strong start to the season, led early by Wichita State transfer Ricky Council IV and five-star freshman Anthony Black after injuries sidelined Trevon Brazile and Nick Smith Jr. After a strong performance in the Maui Invitational, and an 11-1 start, the Razorbacks looked like a real Final Four contender. However, injuries, and SEC play, led to a tough stretch, as Arkansas lost five of its first six conference games. The Razorbacks bounced back with wins over Texas A&M and Kentucky, but stumbled towards the end of the season, losing six of its last nine games. While Eric Musselman coached teams have a history of overcoming early struggles and making deep tournament runs, this year’s Razorbacks are extremely unpredictable.

Council (15.9 PPG), Black (12.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.2 APG), and Jordan Walsh (7.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG), have all been consistent contributors, however, Arkansas has struggled with shooting, though being top 20 in defensive efficiency makes up for it. The Razorbacks rank poorly in 3-point percentage (304th nationally, 31.7%) and free-throw percentage (287th, 69%), which is slightly concerning.

P.S.: Since Smith’s return, he’s been fairly inconsistent. However, he’s managed to score 20+ in five of 14 games played since then. He’s a microwave scorer - and could take over a game or two.

#9 Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12) (11-9 Big Ten)

Blanket statement: I could see Illinois making it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. I could also see Illinois being eliminated immediately to Arkansas. Illinois has lost five of its last eight, and three of its last four, but have notable wins against high-level teams like Texas and UCLA, which clearly make the Illini a team to watch out for.

This Illinois team is tough on defense and has a strong offense, ranking third among Big Ten teams in scoring. However, it’s been ranked as one of the ‘unluckiest’ teams in the nation by KenPom, and struggles with its assist-to-turnover ratio, ranking last in the Big Ten.

P.S.: 6’6 combo Guard Terrance Shannon, in a crucial moment, helped secure the Illini’s spot in the NCAA Tournament by scoring 24 points in the second-half of a four-point victory against Michigan. Shannon ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 17.1 PPG, and is versatile in all aspects of the game, including rebounds (4.7), assists (2.9), and steals (1.3). Forward Colman Hawkins (9.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.0 APG), serves as the teams’ linchpin.

#10 Boise State Broncos 24-9 (13-5 Mountain West)

Boise State, last year’s Mountain West tournament champion, secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, finishing second in the regular season race behind San Diego State. Despite losing three of its last five games, the Broncos managed to earn a significant win against Quad 1 San Diego State on Senior Day. Throughout the season, Boise State was 3-5 in Quad 1 matchups, and 9-2 in Quad 2 games. The Broncos have been propelled by sophomore Center, and top scorer, Tyson Degenhart.

Boise State is a solid defensive team, limiting opponents to an average of 64 PPG and a 3-point shooting percentage of only 31%, while limiting teams to an effective field goal percentage of only 47.8%. The team’s depth is limited, with only seven players playing double-digit minutes and all five starters playing at least 28 minutes per game. However, all five starters are double-digit scorers, including four Idaho-born players like Degenhart, Max Rice, Marcus Shaver Jr., and Naje Smith, alongside Texas Tech transfer Chibuzo Agbo.

P.S.: Degenhart is Boise State’s leading scorer, averaging 14.3 PPG, and was named to first-team All-MWC, however, it’s senior PG Marcus Shaver Jr. who runs the team and contributes across the board. At 6’2, Shaver is third on the team in scoring with 13.5 PPG, but leads in rebounds (6.1), assists (3.8), and steals (1.6), and has the highest usage rate on the team.

#11 Arizona State Sun Devils 22-12 (11-9 Pac 12)

The Frogs’ First Round matchup. After two disappointing seasons and no tournament appearances, Arizona State secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament despite finishing fifth in a weak Pac 12 and having a below .500 record in Quad 1 and 2 matchups. Victories against Oregon State and USC in the Pac 12 Tournament, and a crucial Quad 1 win against Arizona in the regular season, helped bolster its resume.

The Sun Devils’ defensive prowess is evident, as ASU restricts opponents to below 68 PPG, securing a position in the top 30 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency statistic. The offensive strategy is centered around swift ball movement and reliance on 3-point shooting. The Sun Devils have undergone significant changes since last season, with the suspension of Marcus Bagley in November resulting in a major overhaul of the roster. Head coach Bobby Hurley recruited Desmond and Devan Cambridge, along with Frankie Collins and Warren Washington, from the transfer portal to fill the gaps.

P.S.: The addition of the Cambridge brothers during the offseason was a huge acquisition for the Sun Devils. Desmond, who leads the team in scoring (13.7) and steals (1.8), has been a valuable contributor, despite shooting a weak 39.3/32.6/81.4 percentage rate. Arizona State will rely on his ability to heat up, and potentially cause an upset in the tournament.

#12 VCU Rams 27-7 (15-3 Atlantic 10)

Under the guidance of head coach Mike Rhoades in his sixth year, VCU attained its highest win total in the six years under his helm this season. The Rams have won nine games in a row, including a triumphant run in the Atlantic 10 Championship, clinching the championship title. The Rams managed to secure a spot in the NCAA Championship with a 68-56 victory, despite being down 11 points at halftime.

Throughout the years, VCU’s success has been attributed to its unwavering defensive pressure, and the Rams continue to exhibit its toughness on the court. According to KenPom, VCU boasts the sixth-best turnover rate in the country, showcasing its prowess on the defensive end of the floor. Moreover, the Rams are in the top 15 in the country in both steals per game and turnovers forced per game, highlighting its exceptional defensive capabilities.

P.S.: Adrian “Ace” Baldwin Jr. has achieved a remarkable feat by being only the fourth player in Atlantic 10 history to receive both Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season. He now joins the ranks of UMass’ Stephene Lasme (2006-07), Xavier’s David West (2001-02), and Temple’s Pepe Sanchez (1999-2000). Baldwin leads VCU in three major categories, averaging 12.7 points, 5.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.

#13 Iona Gaels 27-7 (17-3 MAAC)

Iona’s been on an incredible 14-game winning streak, with only one of those victories coming within six points. The Gaels successfully clinched its second consecutive MAAC regular-season championship and its second NCAA Tournament bid in the last three seasons under the guidance of head coach Rick Pitino. This is the first time Iona’s secured both of these accomplishments in the same season - many thanks to Pitino. But - it is likely this will be the last NCAA Tournament for Pitino with the school, as he’s been linked to potential vacancies at St. John’s, Texas Tech, and Georgetown.

Iona dominated both ends of the floor in the MAAC, leading the conference in scoring offense, assists-to-turnover ratio, and field goal percentage. On the defensive end, Iona held the top spot in field-goal percentage defense and turnover margin. Moreover, the Gaels rank second in the country in blocks and 17th in assists-to-turnover ratio, further highlighting its exceptional abilities on both ends of the court.

P.S.: Iona’s top scorer this season was Walter Clayton, a sophomore guard who averaged 16.5 points per game (3rd in MAAC), along with 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Clayton had received several high-major football offers but ultimately chose to pursue college basketball. He was a standout performer from the free-throw line this season, leading the nation with an impressive 94.4%.

#14 Grand Canyon Lopes 24-11 (11-7 WAC)

Despite the significant setback of losing Jovan Blacksher Jr., the preseason player of the year in the WAC, to a season-ending injury, Grand Canyon exceeded expectations and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Following a disheartening home loss to Seattle U on senior night on February 24th, things looked bleak for the Lopes. However, the Lopes bounced back and managed to secure six consecutive victories, including the last four in the WAC Tournament, earning it the No. 14 seed. This achievement marks two championships and NCAA bids in three years for head coach Bryce Drew.

Sophomore Guard Ray Harrison has been Grand Canyon’s best player this season, leading the team with 17.7 PPG and 3.6 APG. With a strong ability to take over games, Harrison makes the Lopes a potential upset threat, especially with the team’s proficient three-point shooting, a typical strength of Bryce Drew’s teams. Grand Canyon has a team three-point percentage of 38.3%, with seven players making 25+ 3-pointers this season. Guard Chance McMillan (58 makes, 44.6%) and Forward Noah Baumann (59 makes, 42.8%) are the main outside threats, while 6’7, 235 pound Gabe McGlothan is the primary inside presence, shown by his 21-point performance in the WAC Championship game win over Southern Utah.

P.S.: Harrison just had one of the most remarkable individual performances in college basketball conference tournament history. According to GCU, he’s the first player to achieve 80 points, 20 rebounds, and 20 assists in a single conference tournament since Kemba Walker accomplished the feat in 2011 at UConn. Specifically, Harrison dropped 80 points, 21 rebounds, and 23 assists, with 31 of those 80 points occurring in the championship game. To compete in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Presbyterian College transfer will likely need to replicate a similar performance.

#15 UNC-Asheville Bulldogs 27-7 (16-2 Big South)

Head coach Mike Morell, who learned under the tutelage of Shaka Smart and Oliver Purnell, experienced a challenging 4-27 debut season at Asheville before achieving a breakthrough this year. After a few middling seasons in the Big South, Morrell led the Bulldogs to its first championship and NCAA bid since 2016. While USC Upstate and Winthrop handed the Bulldogs close losses in the regular season, Asheville repaid USC Upstate with a 66-62 win in the Big South Semifinals. In the championship game, the Bulldogs found itself down 66-52 to No. 7 seed Campbell with less than eight minutes to play. Yet, Asheville found a way to complete an astonishing comeback, ending the game on a 25-7 run. Big South Player of the Year Drew Pember contributed 29 points, but it was Tajion Jones who stepped up in a significant way during the comeback, scoring 16 of his 24 points in the final eight minutes, including the game-winning three-pointer with less than a minute remaining. Jones’ outstanding individual performance was nothing short of remarkable.

UNC-Asheville plays an aggressive man-to-man defense and relies on its star player Pember, who’s been named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year for the past two seasons, to protect the rim. However, despite its high pace of play, the team lacks depth, with only six players seeing significant minutes in the Big South title game; Jones and Pember are the team’s primary scorers, contributing to 36.2 of the team’s 75 PPG. Jones, the team’s top shooter, is also the program’s all-time leading scorer, and is hitting an impressive 45.6 percent of his 3-pointers. While Caleb Burgess runs the point, he isn’t a significant shooting threat, and teams may opt to leave him open. Nonetheless, the team shoots a respectable 39% from beyond the arc.

P.S.: Pember began his collegiate career at Tennessee, where he displayed flashes of talent and competitive drive during his two-year stint, but failed to secure a significant role on the team. This was partly due to his slender build - which hasn’t changed much from then (6’11, 215). However, since joining UNC-Asheville Pember has been a dominant force in the Big South. He ranks among the top 20 shot-blockers in the nation, averaging 2.3 blocks per game, and has proven to be a versatile scorer from all areas of the court, making 56 3-pointers at 37.3%. Pember has also attempted, and made, the most free throws in the nation, attempting 314 and making 262, boasting an impressive 83.4% free-throw percentage. Pember is equally adept at facilitating for his teammates, with 79 assists on the season, although he does lead the team in turnovers with 113.

#16 Howard Bison 22-12 (11-3 MEAC)

Howard secured the MEAC regular-season championship before winning the conference tournament in a thrilling 65-64 victory over Norfolk State. The game featured 15 lead changes and 11 ties, and was only decided at the final buzzer when Norfolk State missed a potential game-winner. This is the Bison’s first MEAC Championship since 1992, and it’s only made it to the NCAA Tournament three times.

Howard ended its regular season strong, winning 14 of its 16 last games, and carrying that momentum into the MEAC Tournament, where it won five straight to clinch its first conference championship since 1992. The Bison averaged 75.5 PPG and allowed 71.6 PPG, ranking third and fourth in the MEAC, respectively. The Bison also led the league in 3-point percentage with a solid 37.7%. According to KenPom, Howard is currently ranked No. 215 in the country.

P.S.: Elijah Hawkins, a 5 ‘11 sophomore, is the Bison’s leader in scoring (13.1), assists (5.9), and steals (1.8). He is also an excellent three-point shooter, knocking down 48.1% of his shots from beyond the arc. Hawkins has been instrumental in engineering victories with three different games of 10+ assists. Freshman Forward Shy Odom (6’6) was named the MEAC Tournament MVP after a solid performance of nine points and seven rebounds against Norfolk State.