HBCU basketball teams that have won an NCAA Tournament game

The most exciting time in college basketball is upon us as the NCAA Tournament kicks off tonight with the top four.

The Texas Southern Tigers will be in the top four, who will try to advance to the Round of 16 when they face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Last year, Texas Southern and Norfolk State made history by winning their respective first four games, marking the first time two HBCUs have won a game in the NCAA Tournament.

While the Tigers look to repeat history tonight, the Spartans have already qualified for the 64-team pool as they face the number one seed and defending NCAA champions Baylor Bears.

With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the times the HBCUs have won games in the NCAA Tournament.

1980 – Alcorn State

In SWAC’s first year of participation in the NCAA Tournament, when there were just 48 entrants, the Alcorn State Braves wasted no time in becoming the first HBCU men’s team to win a victory.

Led by Hall of Fame head coach Davey Whitney, the Braves were 28-1 overall and a perfect 12-0 record in the conference.

Their team included two-time SWAC Player of the Year and future NBA veteran Larry Smith, who averaged 20.1 points and 15.1 rebounds in 26 games.

Passing Southern and Grambling State in the conference tournament, Alcorn received the eighth seed in the Midwest Region against the South Alabama Jaguars in the first round.

The Braves entered the tournament on a 21-game winning streak and extended it to 22 games when they defeated South Alabama 70-62.

Smith was the star of the game for Alcorn State, finishing with 18 points and 17 rebounds, tied by junior center Eddie Baker who also had 18 points and junior guard EJ Bell with 16 points.

1983 – Alcorn State

Three years later, Alcorn State is now in its third NCAA tournament in four years, losing in the first round in 1982.

This time around, the Braves went 18-9 in the regular season and 10-4 against SWAC in beating Texas Southern to win the SWAC crown.

In the tournament, the Braves played in the play-in seeking the 12th and final seed in the Midwest Region by defeating Xavier 81-75.

Four players scored in double figures for Alcorn, led by second-year guard Michael Phelps who had 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, adding six interceptions.

1984 – Alcorn State

A year later, the Braves beat Texas Southern for the second straight year to win their third straight SWAC title.

They played in the play-in again this time against Houston Baptist to be the 12th seed in the Midwest Region.

Alcorn passed Houston Baptist winning 79-60 again led by Michael Phelps who scored 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, adding five rebounds and three assists.

1993 – South

The first non-Alcorn State HBCU team to win a game in the The NCAA tournament was the Southern Jaguars in 1993.

Southern finished with the second-best record this season by beating regular-season champion Jackson State in the Conference Tournament 101-80 to claim the NCAA Tournament berth.

They entered as the 13-seeded West Region against the four-seeded Georgia Tech in the first round. After trailing at halftime, the Jags beat Georgia Tech 54-34 in the second half to win 93-78.

Also Read: Poll: Which HBCU Team Had the Biggest NCAA Tournament Upset, Southern, Coppin St., Hampton or Norfolk St.?

Southern was led by 1994 SWAC Player of the Year Jervaughn Scales, who filled the stat sheet with 27 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

Senior forward Leonard White also had a big game with 18 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

1997 – Coppin State

In 1997 we had the first MEAC team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, the culprit being the Coppin State Eagles.

After finishing the regular season with the MEAC’s best record, Coppin defeated North Carolina A&T 81-74 to win the MEAC crown.

The Eagles won the tournament’s 15th seed over the second-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks in the first round.

Coppin shocked the world by upsetting South Carolina 78-65, becoming the third 15-seeded player to win an NCAA tournament game since expanding to 16 teams per region in 1985.

Danny Singletary led the Eagles off the bench in the game with 22 points and five steals, followed by Antoine Brockington with 20 points and three steals.

The Eagles nearly became the first HBCU to move to the Sweet 16 but fell short to the Texas Longhorns 82-81.


Four years after Coppin State’s massive win, the Hampton Pirates earned their own victory in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.

Hampton had the MEAC’s best record this season crossing the conference tournament beating Morgan State, Norfolk State and South Carolina State by an average margin of 17 points.

The Pirates received the 15th seed in the West Region against Iowa State, a two-seeded team led by future NBA point guard Jamaal Tinsley.

In a close outing, Hampton escaped with a 58-57 victory with MEAC Player of the Year Tarvis Williams recording 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.

2004 – Florida A&M

Florida A&M’s road to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 was far more difficult than the teams that came before them.

The Rattlers finished the regular season with an 11-16 overall record and a 10-8 MEAC record, the fifth-best record in the conference.

FAMU eliminated co-regular season champions South Carolina State and Coppin State en route to securing a berth in the tournament.

They opened March Madness as the only play-in game beating Lehigh 72-57 to claim sole possession of the 16 seed in the St. Louis area.

Senior guard Terrence Woods spearheaded the Rattlers’ victory with 24 points and five steals.

2010 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff

In the last year before the NCAA Tournament instituted the First Four, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions became the last team to win what was called the play-in in 2010.

UAPB finished the regular season with a 14-15 record including 14-4 against SWAC in defeating Texas Southern to win the conference title.

In the play-in, the Golden Lions beat Winthrop 61-44 to fight their way to the 64-team field in the South Region before losing to eventual champion Duke in the first round.

2012 – Norfolk State Spartans


The 2012 Norfolk State Spartans are the last HBCU team to win an NCAA Tournament Round of 16 game.

The Spartans were the worst in first history, going from a 10-19 record in the 2011 season to a 26-10 record in the 2012 season.

They were led by MEAC Player of the Year Kyle O’Quinn who was the conference rebounder and shot blocker.

Norfolk defeated Bethune-Cookman to win the MEAC and received the 15th seed in the West Region of the tournament over two-seeded Missouri.

In a close contest, the Spartans survived the 86-84 victory by pulling off the major upset with O’Quinn shining once again with 26 points on 10 of 16 shooting, adding 14 rebounds and two blocks.

Meanwhile, Pendarvis Williams and Chris McEachin each scored 20 points in the game.

2013 – North Carolina A&T

The North Carolina A&T Aggies’ unlikely run to the MEAC title saw them finish the regular season in the middle of the pack tied for the sixth-best record in the conference.

The Aggies cruised through Florida A&M, North Carolina Central, Delaware State and Morgan State to win the conference for the first time in 18 years.

They were also the first team in five years to advance from the first round of the MEAC tournament to win the title.

NCAT continued its unlikely run to the NCAA Tournament by winning 73-72 in the top four over Liberty, becoming the undisputed 16th seed in the Midwest Region.


Like North Carolina A&T, the 2015 Hampton Pirates also won the MEAC after a less than spectacular regular season finishing sixth in the conference.

After wins over Morgan State, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Norfolk State and Delaware State, the Pirates secured their NCAA Tournament berth in the top four against Manhattan.

Hampton continued his good fortune by beating Manhattan 74-64 before losing to the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats, who featured a team loaded with future NBA All-Stars Devin Booker and Karl Anthony-Towns among others. future NBA talent.

2018 – South Texas

Prior to last year, Texas Southern was the last team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament.

After winning their third SWAC title in the past four seasons, the Tigers added a fourth in 2018 by beating Arkansas Pine-Bluff to punch their ticket to the big dance.

Texas Southern faced North Carolina Central in the top four, which is the only time to date that two HBCUs have faced each other in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers emerged 64-46 winners with a 25-point performance from Demontrae Jefferson.

Tonight, Texas Southern could join Alcorn State, becoming the second HBCU team to win three games overall in NCAA Tournament history.

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