Who? The Bulldogs of Samford.
What? Their mascot, Spike, got a frankly terrifying makeover this past offseason. He's sometimes joined by a live companion, Lady Liberty, or Libby for short. (Why do people automatically name bulldogs Spike, anyway? A Gonzaga-Samford game would be very confusing.)
Where? Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. If it's any consolation, I had to look that up on Wikipedia. (I mean. I have to look up things like nicknames for Knoxville on Wikipedia, but that's the first school I had to look up the location of.)
When? March 7th, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is really one of my favorite places to say.
Why? Because they won the Southern conference tournament.
How? Paige Anderson's three with fourteen seconds left gave Samford the lead in the 57-54 win over top seed Appalachian State. Anderson led all scorers with 14 points.Surprise? Yep. Samford was the second seed, finishing two games behind Appalachian State in the regular season.
Who's driving this thing, anyway? Mike Morris, since 2002. He's been with the team through three conferences.
Record: 25-7 (15-5)
Best win: South Florida (H)
Worst loss: Elon (H)
Notable results: Texas Tech (L, A, 58-42), Vanderbilt (L, A, 70-60) This is quite possibly a textbook example of a team that did exactly what it should do as a mid-major: won the games they should win, lost the games they should lose, don't screw up too badly in conference.
Samford relies on the one-two punch of seniors Emily London and Savannah Hill, the only double-figure scorers on the squad. London is deadly from the free throw line, only missing nine out of 125 shots all season, while Hill leads the team in rebounds, assists, and blocks.