It's the most wonderful time of the year- no, not Christmas (though we probably will be bringing up Christmas at some point). Welcome to the Madness of March, when we all discover schools we've never heard of before. Welcome to tournament time. Welcome to the postseason.
By the time the tournament starts, you'll have at your fingertips all the information you ever wanted to know about all 64 teams: who, what, where, when, why, how, RPI, SOS, facts, numbers, opinions, subjective judgment calls, personal anecdotes, snark, sarcasm, random asides, and more links than a Minnesota training camp.
It'll look something like what you'll see after the jump. (We'll be putting a bit more above the jump when the preface isn't as long-winded.)
Who? The Hatters of Stetson.
What? No, it's not a coincidence. They're named after the Stetson who founded the hat company- he saved the school's founder from bankruptcy. The Stetson Hatter does not appear to have a name.
Where? DeLand, Florida, hometown of Bridgette Gordon.
When? March 5th, in Macon, Georgia.
Why? Because they won the Atlantic Sun conference tournament.
How? They needed a 55-foot miracle to get to the championship game, but all the drama was left in the semis, as they beat the Jacksonville Dolphins 69-50. Victoria McGowan, the hero against Belmont, was the tournament MVP.
Surprise? Yes. Florida Gulf Coast would have been the top seed if they were postseason eligible, but East Tennessee State was the top seed in the conference tournament. Jacksonville knocked them out 61-59.
Who's driving this thing, anyway? Lynn Bria, since 2008. She taught classes during two of her coaching stints- how satisfyingly old-school. (My red-and-white heart also goes pitter-pat that one of her assistants is former St. John's and Drexel point guard Andrea Peterson.)
Record: 20-12 (14-7)
Best win: Georgia State (H)
Worst loss: Georgia Southern (H)
Notable results: I'm not sure anyone should be losing by 17 to Miami of Ohio.
How do you start March Madness? With an upset, how else?
Sometimes it's hard to write about a team that isn't particularly anything: not short, not tall, not young, not old, not offensive-minded, not defensively stifling, not excessively local, not aggressively international.
So instead, we'll go with the balance theory. This is a team that puts four players in double figures, led by sophomore guard Victoria McGowan's 14.3 points per game. Senior center Natasha Graboski leads the team in rebounding with 6.9 per game, also averaging a smidge more than a block per game. If the A-Sun championship game was anything to go by, the Hatters might be in good shape for a few years, as freshman forward Sasha Sims went off for 22 points, most on long-range shooting.