HAMPTON (WAVY) – Every coach will spill the “One game at a time,” and “We’re not looking ahead” speech. While that is very true, and nobody is suggesting Hampton University is looking ahead, how can anyone outside the program not look at the 16 versus 1 matchup that looms ahead for Pirates, should they defeat Manhattan?
If the 16-seed Pirates (16-17) make it past Manhattan (20-13), they will meet the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats. Yes, the same Wildcats (34-0) who are chasing history, trying to become the first team since Bobby Knight’s Indiana team in the 1975-1976 to finish a season as undefeated national champions.
Hampton guard Deron Powers has already had a number of text messages and phone calls reminding him. “I’ve gotten so many text messages saying, ‘Bro, you playing Kentucky!'” said Powers just after he found out which region his team was headed to.
Powers, a senior from Williamsburg, said he even got text messages from people he “hasn’t talked to in years.
“I don’t even know how they got my number,” he said.
Then there’s the energetic-but-steady head coach. Ed Joyner, who couldn’t help but give a big smile and laugh once he saw the bracket on Sunday, says the only team he’s worried about right now is Manhattan. “I don’t think they’re going to worry about anything other than Manhattan,” he said.
“Even if we’re blessed enough to get by that game, that could change a little bit. But, hey, we’ll see what happens. We’re going to go out there and battle Manhattan first.”