WASHINGTON- On Monday, the Howard University community erupted with excitement and cheer during a send off celebration for the men’s basketball team in front of Cramton Auditorium. After a long journey, the team has earned a seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1992.
On Saturday, the basketball team edged Norfolk State, 65-64, in a memorable Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship game at the Scope Arena. Howard will open the 2023 NCAA Tournament as a No. 16 seed against reigning national champion and No. 1 seed Kansas in a first-round contest of the West Region. The game will be played Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on TBS.
“This is so cool,” said Aliena Patton, a political science freshman from Kansas City, Kansas. “We don’t see many HBCUs go to the March Madness tournament. It’s incredibly special that Howard gets to represent HBCUs.”
Right before the departure, Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick praised the team and encouraged them to soak in the moment.
“Don’t let this moment pass without stopping yourself at some point and appreciate this moment,” Dr. Frederick said.
He also noted that the last time Howard University went to the NCAA tournament for men’s basketball he was a student.
“I’m elated about this,” he said. “This is a full circle moment for me.”
At the send off, Howard University basketball player Jelani Williams expressed his feelings of excitement and gratitude as the team turned their attention toward the tournament. Williams made two free throws with 6.1 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin in the victory over Norfolk State and scored nine of Howard's final 15 points.
“This is the reason you come to Howard University – to do something special and historic,” Williams said.
A watch party for the NCAA tournament game will be hosted in the Blackburn University Center Ballroom on Thursday, March 15, 2023. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be served. The University invites Howard University students, faculty, and staff to come out and cheer on their favorite team.
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About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu