Who? The Eagles of Eastern Michigan.
What? They’ve only been the Eagles since 1991; before that, they were the Hurons. They’re represented by Swoop.
Where? Ypsilanti, Michigan, named for a Greek war hero, and yes, your half-Greek intrepid blogger can spell it without blinking.
When? March 10th, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio-io-io-io-io.
Why? They won the Mid-American Conference tournament.
How? Paige Redditt with the left hand at 1.5 seconds. /Cluedo Redditt had 18 points and six rebounds, and the Eagles were led by Natachia Watkins’s 25 points and seven boards in a back-and-forth 72-71 fight with Central Michigan.
Surprise? Picked third in the West Division, they claimed the division title and second overall seed in the tournament.
RPI (as of 3/10): 65
SOS (as of 3/10): 144
Record: 23-8 (13-3 Mid-American)
Good wins: Michigan.
Bad losses: At Seattle. UMKC, even in overtime, isn’t necessarily great, though the Kangaroos’ run to the Summit final helps. Overtime is not their time.
Who’s running this show? AnnMarie Gilbert, since 2007. She was an assistant for the Michigan State team that went to the 2005 title game.
Extra, Extra! AnnArbor.com, the successor to the Ann Arbor News.
For the Eagles, it all starts with the MAC Player of the Year, senior guard Tavelyn James. Averaging an eye-popping 24.2 points per game, she has shown a knack for getting to the line and hitting her free throws. It’s a heavy burden. Sophomore point guard Desyree Thomas averages 5.5 assists and over three steals a game. The Eagles’ chances may rest on sophomore forward Natachia Watkins; if she can be a strong second option, they have a chance to make a move.
(Special thanks to the coterie of MAC fans at Rebkell’s, whose MAC thread keeps a hoophead 400 miles away from the nearest MAC school in the loop.)