Favorite(s)- Norfolk State (21-10 16-0), North Carolina Central (22-8 15-1)
Norfolk stunned Missouri as a 15-seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament and despite losing star Kyle O’Quinn to graduation the Spartans have ran through the MEAC again to an undefeated season. The season for Norfolk State has been a year of streaks, after starting 2-1 they lost 4 straight, followed by winning four in a row. They then lost five in a row before rattling off 15 straight to finish the regular season. Can the Spartans take the top seed all the way to another NCAA bid?
Over the past four years the North Carolina Central Eagles have slowly adjusted to division 1 basketball. They lost 22 games 4 years ago and then were .500 the following year, last year was their first winning season and now this year they have their first 20-win season and are for the first time a favorite in March. The big question is how they handle it.
Contender(s)- Savannah State (18-13 11-5)
The Tigers made their first post-season appearance last season, losing to Tennessee in the first round of the NIT. This year they get two wins over a couple of conference favorites in the non-conference in Robert Morris (NEC) and Western Illinois (Summit). Now they are trying to take the next step and breakthrough to the NCAA tournament.
Team Likely to pull an upset- Hampton (14-16 11-5)
To be honest I don’t see much to choose from here. If a team is able to unseat a favorite it may be Hampton. If the Pirates can keep games low scoring the way they like and giving the young freshmen that carry the team offensively a chance to win a game.
3 Key Players-Stanton Kidd-North Carolina Central, Rashad Hassan-Savannah State, Dewayne Jackson-Morgan State
Stanton Kidd is North Carolina Central’s junior forward who is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.9 and is second on the team in scoring at 14.5. For the Eagles to unseat Norfolk State Kidd will have to be a force both on the boards and on the scoreboard.
Rashad Hassan is Savannah State’s power forward leads the team in scoring at 12.8 points and is second in rebounding at 5.9. Much like Stanton Kidd, Hassan will have to be a big factor if the Tigers take the next step to the NCAAs.
Morgan State is one of the higher scoring teams in the MEAC and junior forward Dewayne Jackson is a key cog for the Bears. His 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds ranks him second in both categories. With the top teams in the conference struggling to score, teams best not take Morgan State lightly or they could be looking at an early trip home.
2013 MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC TOURNAMENT
March 11-16 Norfolk, VA
#4 Savannah State vs. #13 Maryland-Eastern Shore
#5 Morgan State vs. #12 South Carolina State
#8 Bethune Cookman vs. #9 Coppin State
#7 North Carolina A&T vs. #10 Florida A&M
#6 Delaware State vs. #11 Howard
#1 Norfolk State vs.
#2 North Carolina Central vs.
#3 Hampton vs.
#4/13 vs. #5/12