Conference Tournament Primer: Mid-Eastern Athletic ConferencePosted by Adam Stillman on March 10th, 2014
Championship Fortnight continues with yet two more conference tourneys tipping off today, so what better way to get you through the next week of games than to break down each of the Other 26′s postseason events. Today, the MAC and the MEAC get started.
Dates: March 10-15
Sites: The Scope (Norfolk, Va.)
What to expect: It’s been two years since #15 seed Norfolk State pulled off a stunning upset of Missouri in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. While the MEAC boasts a different team this time around — North Carolina Central — it has another one that could put a scare into a top seed in the first round. That is, of course, if the Eagles can earn the league’s automatic bid this week. Hampton and Norfolk State will be their main challengers, and remember, the #1 seed has won this tournament only three times in the past 10 years. That tells some of the story as to why the MEAC is only 5-32 in NCAA Tournament games all-time
Favorite: North Carolina Central. The Eagles ran away with this league, winning it by two games over Hampton. Funny story, NCCU played Hampton once this season, but it didn’t count as a league game and I couldn’t find an explanation as to why that occurred. Nevertheless, NCCU has won 17 straight games, including 15 in a row in conference play. The Eagles ranked first in the MEAC in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Darkhorse: Morgan State. The third-seeded Bears can score a little bit, coming in second in the league in offensive efficiency in conference games at 1.05 points per possession. The only problem? NCCU scored 1.14 points per possession in league play, while only giving up 0.88 points per possession on the other end.
Who wins: North Carolina Central. The Eagles knocked off North Carolina State on the road in late November and managed to keep it respectable against Wichita State, Maryland and Cincinnati in three other marquee non-conference games this season. NCCU is clearly the class of this league. If the Eagles can survive the league tournament, an elite seed might be in for a serious battle in the Big Dance.
Player to watch: Jeremy Ingram, North Carolina Central. The 6’3″ senior guard averages 20.2 points per game, and he’s the best player in the conference with an apparent love for the big stage. Ingram scored 29 points against N.C. State, 37 against Wichita State, and 27 against Cincinnati.
Bubble Implications: None