LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 25: Paul Crosby #32 of the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils is fouled by Kellen Thornton #21 of the Tennessee State Tigers during the third round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena November 25, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mississippi Valley State won 90-89 in double overtime. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Mississippi Valley State started the 2011-12 season dreadfully. The Delta Devils will end it in the NCAA Tournament.
High-major (and some mid-major) teams have a luxury when it comes to scheduling flexibility: play a lot of good teams out of conference and lose, and those teams can make up for the losses in conference and build a profile deserving of an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Mississippi Valley State didn't have that luxury, and endured a brutal non-conference slate, but turned things around in SWAC play to make the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The Delta Devils began the 2011-12 season with a miserable 1-11 mark in non-conference play, with their lone win coming against Tennessee State and losses coming at the hands of Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa State.
But that stretch likely only made MVSU tougher, and the Delta Devils dominated the SWAC, ripping off a 17-1 mark in conference that was only dented by Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the regular season finale and winning the SWAC Tournament to secure the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
As a No. 16 seed, MVSU will head to Dayton for a First Four matchup with Western Kentucky. Win that and the Delta Devils get to play No. 1 overall seed Kentucky in the Second Round.
Join our 2012 NCAA Bracket pool to compete against the best and brightest from around the network.
For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.