Norfolk State University’s men’s basketball team has been nominated for the 2012 ESPY’s “Best Upset” award after pulling off one of the most stunning victories of the year back in March.
Norfolk State had captured the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament title to gain its first appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Norfolk State then went on to shock the nation by beating No. 2 seed Missouri, 86-84, in the first round of the NCAA West Region in Omaha, Neb. on March 16. Norfolk State was only the fifth No. 15 seed to knock off a No. 2 seed in the entire history of the NCAA Tournament.
Missouri, who had just won the Big 12 Conference title, came into the NCAA Tournament with an outstanding 30-4 record, ranking as the third best team in the country, according to ESPN’s national polls. Their loss to NSU made them the highest-ranked No. 2 seed to fall in the opening round.
“This nomination is a tribute to our athletics program,” NSU Athletics Director Marty L. Miller said. “Along with the men’s basketball team defeating Missouri, this ESPY nomination is one of the most significant accomplishments in our history.”
The ESPY Awards, short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly awards, will air live on July 11 at 9 p.m. at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. The awards show will be shown on ESPN.
NSU head coach Anthony Evans will be joined by two players from that historic team, center Kyle O’Quinn and guard Pendarvis Williams as attendees at the awards presentation.
Other teams nominated for the “Best Upset” category include Lehigh, another No. 15 seed that upset No. 2 seed Duke just hours after NSU’s upset over Missouri; the Los Angeles Kings, who won the 2012 National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup, making them first ever 8th seeded team in North American professional sports to win a championship; and the Iowa State football team, which upset Oklahoma State during the college football regular season.
Fans can vote for ESPY’s “Best Upset” online at http://espnmediazone.com/us/2012-espys-nominees/or via mobile device at espn.com/ESPYS.