Introducing Cinderella: Mount St. Marys is headed to the NCAA tournament

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Conference: NEC

Coach: Jamion Christian

Record: 19-15, 15-3 (1st)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 215
RPI: 164
AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding: Mount St. Mary’s is very likely going to end up being a No. 16 seed. The hope is that they avoid the play-in game.

Names you need to know: Elijah Long is the best player on the Mount’s roster, averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 boards and 4.3 assists, but the guy that everyone is going to fall in love with on this team is Junior Robinson. A 5-foot-5 point guard, Robinson averaged 13.8 points on the season and 20.7 points in the NEC tournament.

Stats you need to know: The Mountaineers were the second-best defensive team in the NEC this season on the strength of their ability to force turnovers; they were 24th nationally in defensive turnover rate. They’re not bid and they don’t really rebound, but they can make you pay if you are not careful with the ball.

Big wins, bad losses: The Mount tested themselves during the non-conference portion of their schedule, playing their first eight games on the road, but the only one of those games that they won came at George Mason.

How’d they get here?: The Mountaineers took advantage of the fact that the NEC does the league tournament the right way. They played three home games during the NEC tournament, won all three and advanced to the NCAA tournament as a result.

Outlook: Not good. Mount St. Mary’s is all-but-assured of having to play, in a best-case scenario, a No. 2 seed in the tournament, and there have been just eight No. 15 seeds that have won a first round game. That said, four of those eight have come in the last five years, including Middle Tennessee State last year and Florida-Gulf Coast in 2013. So it’s possible. But the Mount will need to get lucky.

How do I know you?: If you are a real hoop-head, you know the name Jim Phelan, the legendary Mount St. Mary’s head coach that spent 49 years in Emmittsburg, Maryland, and coached the Mountaineers to 830 wins.