In the seventh installment of our 20ish-part series, Get to Know an Auto-Bid, we examine the Northern Kentucky Norse.
NKU clinched their first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament in just their second year eligible for postseason play with a 59-53 win over UW-Milwaukee in the Horizon League Championship Game, Tuesday.
The Horizon League Tournament was utter chaos this year. Oakland and Valparaiso entered the tournament and the clear-cut favorites, but upsets abounded as the Crusaders and Grizzlies each lost their first game.
NKU, who competed in the Atlantic-Sun when they initially transitioned to Division I, was the only high-seed to win a game in the tournament. The final four of the tournament consisted of the No. 4 Northern Kentucky, No. 11 UW-Milwaukee, No. 9 Youngstown State, and No. 5 Illinois-Chicago.
Northern Kentucky finished the season with a 24-10 record and a 12-6 mark in the Horizon League.
The Horizon League has produced teams that have made deep runs in the tournament in the past. Both of Butler’s national championship appearances came while they were in the Horizon and UW-Milwaukee made a Sweet 16 run under Bruce Pearl in 2005 after winning the league.
The Norse don’t have anything close to a quality win. NKU’s best victory was against conference rival Valparaiso at home in February. NKU played high-majors Illinois and West Virginia, but were not competitive in either contest.
For those of you wondering what a “Norse” is: “Norse has been a common term for Norsemen in the early medieval period, especially in connection with raids and monastic plundering by Norsemen in the British Isles.” Information for life.
NKU has four players that average at least ten points per game and Drew McDonald leads the Norse with 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
The Otter Room official bracket projection has the Norse as a 15-seed. NKU is a great story, but unlikely to threaten any two-seed they would come up against in the tournament.