For the first time since Jay Wright was Hofstra's coach — ever heard of him? — the Pride is going dancing. Wright led the program to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001, and with a 70-61 win over No. 6 seed Northeastern in the 2020 Colonial Athletic Association tournament, top-seeded Hofstra ensured its return to the Big Dance.
Here's everything you need to know about CAA champion Hofstra.
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Hofstra: Record, quick facts
Record: 26-8 (14-4 CAA)
Conference standing: 1st
NET ranking: No. 118 (as of March 10)
NCAA tournament appearances: 4
Best NCAA tournament seed: No. 13 (2001)
Best NCAA tournament finish: Lost in the first round (four times)
When Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich was hired by the school, he inherited a program that went 7-25 in the season prior in 2013. He has since led the Pride to four 20-win seasons in seven years and now he's taking the school to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 years.
Besides Hofstra's 12-1 record in its last 13 games, a few things stand out about the team. It's one of the best in the country at keeping opponents off the free throw line. Opponents have a free throw rate of just 20.3, which ranks third nationally and means that for every five field goal attempts, opponents attempt just one free throw on average.
But Hofstra is even better offensively. The Pride rank No. 61 nationally in offensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com, thanks to a 37.4 3-point percentage, a 78.6 percent free throw percentage and a respectably low turnover percentage.
The Pride's rotation consists of four seniors and three juniors, which is why the team ranks seventh nationally in experience, according to kenpom.com. The group is also more reliant on its starters than any other team in the nation with Hofstra's bench players seeing the floor for just 14.2 percent of all available minutes.
Five players average double figures in points per game, led by Desure Buie at 18.1 points per game and Eli Pemberton at 17.6 points per game, and the drop-off from fifth to sixth on the team is 10.8 points per game to 3.1, which makes sense given the role the team's starters play. Buie (42.1 3-point percentage) also headlines a quartet of strong 3-point shooters, along with Jalen Ray (39.3%), Tareq Coburn (38.1%) and Pemberton (38.1%).
Junior Isaac Kante (65 percent 2-point percentage) provides a reliable inside scoring threat at 6-7.