Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (conference rank: 31st)
All games at Norfolk, Va.
kPOY: Patrick Cole, N.C. Central.
Regular season champ: N.C. Central (preseason #288 / 3rd MEAC, current #159)
Overachiever: N.C. Central
Underachiever: Howard (preseason #275, current #335)
The MEAC’s regular season concluded last night with North Carolina A&T upsetting conference-leader N.C. Central 68-63. It was A&T’s first win over a D-I team since they beat N.C. Central in last year’s regular-season finale, a span of 29 games. The win meant that there are no winless teams in conference play this season.
The path to #nowinlessteams was pretty incredible. Two Sundays ago, Oregon State had to overcome a nine-point deficit with 3:23 left to beat Utah in what appeared to be the Beavers last winnable game. Then SIU-Edwardsville knocked off Eastern Illinois in its season-finale last Saturday. And finally, last night North Carolina A&T had to overcome a second-half deficit to beat the conference champ. (Central’s leading score and kPOY recipient, Patrick Cole, played all 40 minutes, so it’s not like the Eagles weren’t trying.)
N.C. Central is still the obvious favorite here despite losing its last two regular-season games. After a down year last season, LeVelle Moton’s team is back to owning the MEAC, ranking 120 spots better than the next-closest team.
One MEAC team will not be participating this week and that’s Savannah State, who is ineligible for the postseason owing to APR penalties. But let’s not forget what the Tigers accomplished this season. They blew away all known records for three-point attempt rate, taking 57.4% of their shots from beyond the arc. They also led the country in adjusted tempo. Gimmicky, maybe, but it was also successful. SSU finished 10-6 in MEAC play, and were one of three teams to beat N.C. Central. Here’s hoping this isn’t a one-year experiment by Horace Broadnax.
The MEAC tournament runs for an incredible six nights in a row. You have to make a major commitment to attend all the games in Norfolk. The following odds give Norfolk State a half-share of home-court advantage and Hampton a quarter-share.
Qtrs Semis Final Champ 1 North Carolina Central 100 87.0 67.1 51.3 2 Norfolk St. 100 76.5 52.3 21.1 4 Hampton 100 61.5 19.1 10.2 3 Morgan St. 100 63.7 27.2 7.7 5 Maryland Eastern Shore 78.6 34.7 9.0 4.3 11 Howard 54.1 20.7 6.5 1.3 7 South Carolina St. 57.1 14.8 6.4 1.3 8 Delaware St. 51.0 7.1 2.5 0.9 6 Coppin St. 45.9 15.6 4.4 0.8 9 Bethune Cookman 49.0 5.9 2.0 0.7 10 Florida A&M 42.9 8.7 3.2 0.5 12 North Carolina A&T 21.4 3.8 0.4 0.07