Home » Forever the underdog, HBCUs will represent the culture at this year’s March Madness

Forever the underdog, HBCUs will represent the culture at this year’s March Madness

by The Grio

An entrance sign near the main gate at Howard University October 25, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As someone who hits the floor whenever the beat drops (though I really don’t need no music), the NCAA’s “Big Dance” has been a great party since my days at Howard. But the boogieing never included the men’s team, which last reached the NCAA tournament in 1992. 

Is that drought over? You know!

That’s the main news from this vantage point as March Madness ramps up. Howard on Saturday prevented Norfolk State from threepeating as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference representative in the tourney. (Ironically, the women’s teams flipped the script Saturday night, with Norfolk State stopping Howard’s bid for a second consecutive NCAA trip). 

The Bison likely won’t advance to the Sweet 16, when attention focuses on which PWI powerhouses survived or fell. There’s plenty of time to talk about top seeds Alabama, Houston, Kansas and Purdue, likely favored for deep runs on 90 percent of bracket contests nationwide. Someone will celebrate on April 3, as producers compile the “One Shining Moment” mixtape with Luther on vocals.

But following and caring about the tourney is different nowadays. Power-conference hoops don’t hit the same anymore and not simply because the talent was consistently higher a couple of generations ago.

Yes, today’s premier players usually leave as freshmen, saying hello and goodbye in the same season. The projected top two NBA picks this year are Victor Wembanyama and Scoop Henderson, who don’t even play college basketball. They’ve drawn zero interested viewers to Kentucky, Duke, or whatever factory they would’ve chosen.

But more than who still plays, the problem is who’s being played. 

When you consider the anti-Black rhetoric coursing through the country — especially the attacks on history and voting rights in areas…

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