Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic
Coach: Edward Joyner Jr.
Record: 16-17 (8-8)
Ratings and Rankings:
– Kenpom: 263
– RPI (per NCAA.com): 259
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked
Seeding: Hampton will in all likelihood be a 16-seed in the bracket when it’s announced Sunday.
Names you need to know: F Dwight Meikle (13.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg), G Quinton Cheivous (10.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg), G Reginald Johnson (11.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Deron Powers (10.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.7 apg)
Stats you need to know: The Pirates have struggled offensively for much of this season, as they’ve shot 40.7 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from beyond the arc. But if there’s one thing this team does well it’s get to the foul line, as they’re 16th in the country in attempts (778) and 32nd in free throw rate (43.6) per kenpom.com. Defensively the Pirates limit opponents to 41.2 percent shooting from the field, and team are shooting 44.0 percent inside of the arc (50th nationally per kenpom.com).
Tendencies: Hampton tends to play man, and it’s helped them pick up a steal on nearly eight percent of their defensive possessions (40th nationally per kenpom.com). As for the offense this is a group that has no issues sharing the scoring responsibilities, with five players attempting between 247 (Brian Darden) and 295 (Meikle) shots on the season. With four players averaging double figures and Darden not far off at 9.7 ppg, Hampton can look to multiple players for contributions on that end of the floor.
Big wins, bad losses: Their isn’t a whole lot on the resume from a big wins standpoint, with Hampton’s best wins coming against Northern Arizona and Maryland-Eastern Shore (who they beat twice). As for the losses, the Pirates lost to Appalachian State in non-conference play and there was a six-game losing skid in January that included losses to North Carolina A&T, Savannah State and South Carolina State.
How’d they get here?: After losing three of their final four games to end the regular season Hampton won three straight at the MEAC tournament, including an 82-61 win over Delaware State in the title game. The Pirates upset two-seed Norfolk State in the MEAC semis.
Outlook: The Pirates are headed to Dayton, and given their resume there’s no disputing that. But as a positive, said trip gives the program a shot at its first NCAA tournament victory since 2001.
How do I know you?: That 2001 victory is how you’ll know the Pirates, as they upset two-seed Iowa State in Boise. And the celebration was a memorable one, with then-head coach Steve Merfeld being lifted into the air by one of his players and cheerleaders and band members rushing the court.