The first round of the MEAC continues today with a pair of matchups. The 7th seeded South Carolina St. Bulldogs face off against the #10 North Carolina A&T Aggies. The Bulldogs seemingly have struggled against the bottom dwellers of the division, while finding success against those ahead of them. They have also beat the Houston Cougars on the road, which despite the Cougars record is still an impressive upset victory. The Aggies had a very disappointing time non-conference play, winning only three games, two of which were against D2 schools. They however heated up towards the end of the regular season, winning their last 3 of 4 games. This matchup is a toss up, but if I were to side with anyone, it’s the Bulldogs.
The other game slated for today features the #8 Bethune-Cookman Wildcats against the #9 Coppin St. Eagles. The Wildcats are another team that had a terrible time in non-conference play, winning only four games, two of which were against D2 schools (a strikingly similar pattern here). To be fair though, they were somewhat competitive in most of the games, notably a 10 point loss to Arizona St. on the road. The Eagles just like every other MEAC team it seems, was dreadful in non-conference play, winning only one game to a D2 school (shocker). As much as I’d like to make fun, at least these MEAC teams have beaten these D2 schools. There have been several teams that have been shocked like the Drexel Dragons, Bowling Green Falcons, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, etc… Anyways, the Eagles have no trouble scoring, but playing defense doesn’t seem in there dictionary. This is another tough game to call, but I’m going to side with the Eagles. With the mid-season transfer of leading scorer Clemmye Owens and second leading scorer Brandon Stewart questionable to play, I’m not sure the Wildcats can keep pace with the Eagles.
As for the MEAC tournament prediction winner, it’s got to be the North Carolina Central Eagles. One of three teams to go undefeated in conference play, the Eagles have taken advance of the second weakest conference in division 1. As far as competition, it probably comes from three teams in the Norfolk St. Spartans, Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks and Delaware st. Hornets. The Hornets actually had the NCC Eagles on the ropes, as Amere May were fouled shooting a three with 0.4 seconds. May made the first to cut within one point, but then missed the next two. The NCC Eagles are in no way locks to win the tournament, but they certainly have been the most consistent team in the MEAC. Take the NCC Eagles to make their second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.