Monmouth University's basketball stars are the bench warmers

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Players of the Monmouth Hawks react on the bench after a basket during the first half of a college basketball game against the Canisius Golden Griffins at the MAC on January 4, 2016.

Rich Schultz, Getty Images

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. --The NCAA college basketball tournament is under way. Sixty-four teams made it in. Monmouth University didn't -- though they put on quite a show.

Monmouth's basketball team had its best year ever, but it may have been their bench that put them on the map.

"It got pretty legit pretty quickly," said Greg Noack, an unofficial leader of the "Bench Mob" along with fellow teammate Dan Pillari.

Noack and Pillari say the mob uses a bit of sideline theater to get the team -- and the crowd -- going.

"The bench is never known as a cool place to be, so we kind of revolutionized it a little bit where it's OK to be on the bench and support your team, because it's a group effort," said Noack.

The group rehearses its celebrations before games, playing off of pop culture, current events and sometimes a little bit of history.

During their victory in December over basketball powerhouse Georgetown, they unveiled what they called the "Sistine Chapel."

Pillari says their teammates love it. "They really do appreciate it. It's great that they just feed off of it. That allows us to be even funnier and goofier on the bench."

Noack agreed, saying he thinks it helps the players on the court.

"Absolutely, its fun for everyone that is involved. So they are on the other side of it, they are playing and they're grinding. But if they look over at the bench and see that we're in the game, we are energized and try and feed energy to them. They are going to be like 'Wow, if they are in it how can I not be in it?'"

Basketball teams across the country have picked up on their antics. High school teams and even NBA players have copied their celebrations.

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Players of the Monmouth Hawks react on the bench after a basket during the first half of a college basketball game against the Canisius Golden Griffins at the MAC on January 4, 2016. Rich Schultz, Getty Images

"I really preach having fun, especially to my guys. You should have fun if you are doing what you love," their coach King Rice said.

Doing what they love while perhaps changing some attitudes about riding the pine.

  • Elaine Quijano
    Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.