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MEAC Championship: Hampton Goes from 6-Seed to 16-Seed With Win Over Delaware State

The Hampton Pirates entered the MEAC Tournament with a 12-17 record and little chance of winning the automatic bid. After beating Delaware State on Saturday, they are headed to Dayton with a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Anything can happen in March, but you didn't need me to tell you that. All you have to do is look at the trail of defeated top seeds from the conference tournaments that have completed to date.

Let's just say that this season's NIT field will be stacked.

North Carolina Central was added to that list Friday night, after falling to Delaware State -- this after a 48-point win in the quarterfinals -- by six. That set up Saturday's MEAC championship between two teams that sat below .500 on the season.

Between them, they had no good wins. They had combined to lose more than 10 games against teams with RPI rankings of 200-plus.

Yet one of these teams was going to be headed to the NCAA Tournament. Yeah, anything can happen.

The bid recipients for 2015 are the Hampton Pirates, who used a strong shooting performance in the second half to finish off Delaware State, 82-61.

The Pirates added 50 points after halftime led by Reginald Johnson and Brian Darden, who both finished with 20 points in the game, after making a combine seven 3-pointers.

Hampton came from the 6-seed to take the tournament, without leading scorer and rebounder Dwight Meikle, who normally adds 13 points per game. Yes, anything can happen in March.

They did it with Tennessee-transfer Quinton Chievous, who normally has 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, only contributing five points and four boards. Yes, anything can happen in March.

The Pirates will be in Dayton -- that is where you go when you are just 16-17 overall -- and they will certainly enjoy every minute of their time there. That is likely where their journey will end, a nine-hour drive from campus that will be filled with a lot of memories for a school whose team hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2011. That trip didn't end well, with an 87-45 loss to Duke.

But maybe the Pirates can overcome their offensive woes -- Hampton sits in the bottom-50 in offensive efficiency -- and pull off an upset in the First Four. Maybe their journey will include another flight to another stadium and a matchup with one of the No. 1 seeds, possibly Kentucky or Villanova.

After all, anything can happen in March. Hampton has shown us that already.