Morrisville State might not be known as a traditional basketball powerhouse but just three years after joining the North Eastern Athletic Conference the Mustangs won the league. Now the team is headed to the Division III NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Players described the celebration after clinching the tournament as emotional.
"Everybody says it's a good feeling but when you're really there - so much coming out of you and to be with the people you love is just unbelievable," said Sophomore Mickey Davis
The Mustangs have five players from the Syracuse area including guard Andrew Lucio from Solvay, forward Hodges Sneed from Onondaga Central and former Jamesville-Dewitt star Mickey Davis. Morrisville State's first trip to the tournament won't be easy. The Mustangs first game is against Middlebury College in Vermont at 7:30 Friday night. Middlebury went to the Division III Final Four last year but the Morrisville players were hopeful that their smaller, quicker lineup would give them an advantage.
This may be Morrisville's first trip to the NCAA Tournament but players said the young program was ready to be a perennial contender in D-III
"Hopefully this is definitely not the last you hear from Morrisville," said Andrew Lucio.
The tournament was such a surprise that Morrisville State had to put a renovation of the basketball court on hold so the team could get back in for practice.
Now that Morrisville has cracked the postseason, Head Coach Joe Smith says he hopes that success will bring more recruits to campus.
"When I talk to recruits it's the first thing I'm going to tell them is we're in the NCAA tournament. We give you a chance to test yourself against the best in the country," said Joe Smith.