Mount St. Mary’s is the latest small school from a one-bid conference to jump into the March Madness spotlight, by winning its tournament and reaching the NCAA tournament field.
What makes “The Mount” special?
- They started the season 0-5 (granted, the first three losses were at West Virginia, Villanova and BYU), went into the Northeast Conference tournament at 13-16, then swept three games and enters the Big Dance with a .500 record.
- The team the Mountaineers beat in the tournament final Tuesday night, top seed Robert Morris, is best known for knocking out then-defending national champion Kentucky in the first game of the NIT last year. That win inspired what might have been the first court-storming ever in an opening-round NIT game. Probably not the last, at this rate.
- Mount senior guard Rashad Whack, the tournament MVP, is a transfer from George Mason, and played for the team that upset Villanova in the 2011 NCAAs.
Now, there’s this little thing about whether Mount St. Mary’s should have been in the title game in the first place. During the team’s quarterfinal win over St. Francis (Brooklyn) last week, Mount St. Mary’s staged a comeback with six men on the court in the closing seconds.
Which led to this game-winning shot, by Whack:
The controversy, which is under investigation by the league, won’t have an impact on the NCAA status of the Mountaineers. And when the 88-71 win over Robert Morris in the title game was over and the NCAA trip was sealed the Mount fans rushed the court – the other team’s home court.
The game was played at Robert Morris. (The schools are a four-hour bus ride apart, but still.)