NCAA "Opening Round": Alabama State vs. Morehead State

Midwest Region: No. 16 Alabama State (22-9) vs.
No. 16 Morehead State (19-15)
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., ET
Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio


ALABAMA STATE HORNETS

1) Let's talk some SWAC: Alabama State comes out of the SWAC, where they have been regular season champions each of the past two seasons. Mississippi Valley State won the tournament title last year and summarily embarrassed themselves against UCLA. This year, Alabama State was able to win both the regular season and tournament championships. The SWAC is a conference for Historically Black Colleges, probably making me the only Caucasian from Minnesota to own this shirt.

2. Say my name, fool! The Hornets play in the Acadome in Montgomery, which recently had to reset their "Have not had a melee in _____ days" sign to 0. The Hornets themselves haven't been involved in any full arena brawls this season, perhaps because nobody wants to mess with 7'1" center Chief Kickingstallionsims. The Big Chief has bad hands and poor footwork, and despite his presence, the Hornets rely mostly on their quick guards. Senior Brandon Brooks with his decidedly less interesting name, leads the team in assists and points. Also overshadowed by the Chief are these delightful names: Ivory White, Menji Mundadi, as well as a Tremaine Butler and a Tremayne Moorer. Tremaine is the new Antoine.

3. Oh.... It's not all fun and games for Alabama State. This season, they are playing with heavy hearts as guard Deshean Porchea, sophomore guard collapsed and died after a pick up game during the offseason. Porchea was 19. — Ryan Henning (The Victoria Times/Barry Melrose Rocks)

MOREHEAD STATE EAGLES

1) Nobody Ever Cheered for Lesshead. OK, now that we've all had our giggle, and irritated our girlfriends by ordering the Morehead sweatshirt with the strategically placed zipper, let's figure out what it really means. The university is located in Morehead, KY ("The happiest town on earth"). Both are, then, named in honor of former Kentucky Governor James Turner Morehead, a rabid anti-abolitionist who personally went after runaway slaves who sought refuge in Ohio. Dang. That's not sexy at all.

2) Loose Balls. Beware 6'8" sophomore Kenneth Faried has a pretty sweet all-around game. He's third on the national rebounding list, averaging 12.8 per game. That's a fine complement to his 14 points, 2 steals, and 2 blocks that tend to come about in every contest. Not a bad get for the fourth-best team in the Ohio Valley, eh?

3) Your Grandpa Beat My Grandpa. If the Eagles win the play-in, they get to face nearby neighbor Louisville as a sixteen seed. This would not be an entirely unprecedented matchup. In 1961, when the tourney had just 32 teams and had consolation rounds, Morehead beat Xavier, then lost to Kentucky in the Midwest region. They played for third place in the losers bracket against Louisville, and lost again. Unlike a modern bracket, all of those schools were close enough together that one could hop in the Studebaker and visit them all in a single weekend, making the "Midwest" designation a little more meaningful. — Eric Angevine (Storming the Floor)

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