Little Rock Trojans Are NCAA Tournament Bound For Fifth Time In School History

Little Rock Trojans' home court the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Credit ualr.edu

Your Little Rock Trojans are headed to the NCAA Tournament so I'm sure we're all ready to dream big on our brackets and root for the home town team.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock men's team secured the bid to college basketball's national championship tournament this weekend. Little Rock handily put away the University of Louisiana-Monroe squad 70-50 to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. UALR last won the Sun Belt title in 2011.

The NCAA bid is the team's fifth. UALR also played in the Big Dance in 1986, 1989, 1990, and 2011. Derek Fisher ('92-96), who is arguable the best to ever play at the school, never made it to the NCAA Tournament. But the '96 team did get a spot in the NIT Tournament, as did the '88 and '86 squads.

The school only advanced once in that initial foray into March Madness. In 1986 to most of the nation's surprise UALR beat Notre Dame to make it to the round of 32. 

This year's Little Rock team has its own achievements to boast of including topping the school's 1988/89 record for season wins with 29. One of the team's four losses was to ULM (20-13) earlier in the season. 

The team enters the tournament as the 12th seed in the Midwest bracket facing off against 5th seed Purdue. The mostly-political website FiveThirtyEight gives Little Rock a 16 percent chance of advancing to the next round and a less than one percent chance of making it to the Sweet 16, Final Four, and championship game.

The record-breaking season for Little Rock marked the first at the school for head coach Chris Beard. It wasn't the first time that Beard, who has coached under Bobby Knight, has set a record for a school he's coached at.

The Trojans take on the Boilermakers March 17th.