RTC Conference Primers: #30 – MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 5th, 2010

RTC is still seeking a MEAC correspondent.  If you are interested in covering this league, email us for further information at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Morgan State (13-3)
  2. South Carolina State (12-4)
  3. Norfolk State (10-6)
  4. Delaware State (9-7)
  5. Bethune-Cookman (9-7)
  6. Maryland-Eastern Shore (8-8)
  7. Hampton (8-8)
  8. Howard (7-9)
  9. North Carolina A&T (6-10)
  10. Coppin State (4-12)
  11. Florida A&M (2-14)
  12. Savannah State (*provisional member — ineligible for postseason and league awards)
  13. North Carolina Central (*provisional member – ineligible for postseason and league awards)

All-Conference Team

  • CJ Reed (G) — Bethune-Cookman
  • Hillary Haley (G) – Maryland-Eastern Shore
  • DeWayne Jackson (F) — Morgan State
  • Kyle O’Quinn (F) – Norfolk State
  • Kevin Thompson (F) — Morgan State

6th Man

  • Darnell Porter (G) — South Carolina State

Impact Newcomer

  • Dominique Sutton (F) — North Carolina Central.  NCCU isn’t yet playing a complete MEAC schedule nor is it eligible for postseason play this year, but the Eagle program is already making noise on the recruiting trail with the announcement of high-major transfer Sutton returning to Durham to suit up for his hometown team.  As of this writing, the 6’5 junior forward who averaged 7.2 PPG and 5.8 RPG as a full-time starter last season for Kansas State was practicing with the team and awaiting an NCAA decision on whether he can play this season.  He moved back east to be closer to his girlfriend and two daughters in Durham, and the wing player who terrorizes the glass on the offensive end (especially given his size) will automatically become one of the best players in the MEAC as soon as he is eligible.

Bozeman is Building Quite the Program in Baltimore

What You Need To Know

  • All Morgan, All the Time. Todd Bozeman has built a powerhouse in Baltimore to the tune of three straight regular season titles, two straight NCAA bids, and a 46-6 record against MEAC teams the last three seasons.  But like all consistently great programs, Morgan doesn’t re-build anymore as much as re-load.  From Jamar Smith to Marquis Kately to Reggie Holmes to the next generation (Thompson and Jackson), Bozeman continually has high-mid major talent playing for him.  The Bears’ strategy is clear — play a tough non-conference schedule to build up their RPI (beating DePaul, Maryland and Arkansas in recent years), dominate the MEAC, and get back to the NCAA Tournament.  Morgan State earned #15 seeds the last two seasons, but they haven’t yet been matched up against the right team in order to pull off the upset — #2 seeds Oklahoma (2009) and West Virginia (2010) were simply too powerful inside for them to handle.  Could it come this season?

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March Moment: The Cinderella That Refused To See Midnight

Posted by jstevrtc on March 28th, 2010

Few college basketball fans are born with their love for the game. For most aficionados, at some point on the way from infancy to college hoops fan, there is a moment. A single play, shot, player, game, or event at which point they say to themselves, “I will always have this in my life.” Because it is the time of the season that carries the most gravitas, these things often happen in March. We asked some of our friends and correspondents: what was the thing that turned you into a lifelong college basketball fan? What was your…March Moment? We’ll be posting some of their answers for the rest of the month.

In this submission, correspondent Steve Coulter tells a tale of a very rare occasion on which he changed allegiances from the team he loved to a team that went on a tournament run that we’ll still all be talking about decades from now:

In my short lifetime there have been many memories from to the three glorious weeks referred to as March Madness.

There was Valparaiso’s miracle run to the Sweet 16 when I was only seven. I can still remember watching highlights of the Bryce Drew game with my dad later that day. There was #15 Hampton’s huge upset of #2 Iowa State when I was only ten. I stayed up that night with my brother, but as the game wore on into the night we both found ourselves sound asleep and kicking ourselves the next morning while watching ESPN. More recently there was Davidson’s Elite 8 run in 2008. Stephen Curry proved to be the littlest giant ever to step onto the hardwood in March, destroying the title hopes of teams such as Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin. They almost conquered Kansas, the team that eventually won the tournament, losing 59-57 in a game for the ages.

All of these have been great and there have been many more excellent games, moments, and stories in my 19 years, but I am a sucker for the underdog and March Madness is where David always has a chance to conquer Goliath. And no true underdog team has ever pushed against all odds and had so much success in the NCAA tournament in my lifetime or anybody else’s than No. 11 seeded George Mason, who in 2006 shocked the entire basketball world by becoming the most unlikely Final Four team in all of history.

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March Moment: Three Reminiscences

Posted by jstevrtc on March 23rd, 2010

Few college basketball fans are born with their love for the game. For most aficionados, at some point on the way from infancy to college hoops fan, there is a moment. A single play, shot, player, game, or event at which point they say to themselves, “I will always have this in my life.” Because it is the time of the season that carries the most gravitas, these things often happen in March. We asked some of our friends and correspondents: what was the thing that turned you into a lifelong college basketball fan? What was your…March Moment? We’ll be posting some of their answers for the rest of the month.

In this edition, we have submissions from three friends.  In the first, RTC utility man Tom Hager remembers a time he had to improvise a way to celebrate after two buzzer-beaters; the second has RTC correspondent Jason Prizoborowski barely escaping extended hoops deprivation; the third has Friend of the Program Mike Kiffney — he of the patented “Kiffney three” — showing his age by recalling how he met a legend from his high school, and making a prediction that will please fans of the Orange:

TH: My March moment came when I was 11 years old. It was Friday night of the first round of the NCAA tournament, and I was sleeping over at a friend’s house. He had no interest in basketball, but fortunately for me, he had fallen asleep by 9:00 that night. I spent the rest of the night watching some of the most exciting basketball I had ever seen in my life. I was sitting in the lower bunk trying to keep quiet as I watched Georgetown defeat Arkansas 63-61 on a buzzer-beater. I remember watching Nat Burton drive to the lane and sink a shot just before time expired. When head coach Craig Esherick was asked for his thoughts on the game winner, he actually looked a little upset. “The play was not designed to go to him…” was how Esherick began the interview, but stated that Burton was a senior, and had the experience to take the shot.

That same night, I watched what I still think might be the best upset in the history of college basketball, when a team I had never heard of (Hampton) with a bunch of players I had never heard of (yeah, Tarvis Williams) defeat highly touted Iowa State. After Williams sank a hook shot with a few seconds left, and Jamaal Tinsley missed his shot at the buzzer, I saw Hampton’s cheerleaders, players, and even coach Steve Merfeld jump in the air. I was doing the exact same. I ran outside my friend’s room and into his kitchen, where I could jump and scream (internally) over what had just happened without waking him up. By the time I was done celebrating, I had done more fist pumps than Tiger Woods and I was out of breath. I remember trying to go to bed that night but I was too excited to fall asleep right away, as that play ran over and over in my head. To this day, it is still my lasting image of the NCAA Tournament.

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Buzz: Senseless Death of Hampton Captain Theo Smalling

Posted by rtmsf on October 27th, 2009

Theo Smalling Dies as a Result of Accidental Shooting.  Really sad news from the Tidewater Virginia area today, as Hampton forward and team captain Theo Smalling died Monday night as a result of an accidental firearm shooting over the weekend.  Smalling was outside of a nightclub in the area when another man nearby mishandled a gun that went off, shooting Smalling in the abdomen.  No further details are available about the last few days, but it’s safe to assume that medical staff attended to his injuries to the best of their abilities, yet he passed yesterday.  Smalling, a senior at Hampton, was on pace to graduate this spring, and this is one of those stories that you just cannot stomach because he had his head on straight and his whole life ahead of him.  RIP, Theo.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #31: MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 6th, 2009

seasonpreview 09-10

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the MEAC and SWAC conferences.  Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Morgan State (22-9)
  2. North Carolina A&T (17-14)
  3. South Carolina State (16-12)
  4. Coppin State (14-13)
  5. Bethune-Cookman (14-16)
  6. Hampton (12-18)
  7. Delaware State (10-17)
  8. Norfolk State (9-19)
  9. Florida A&M (9-16)
  10. Howard (4-23)
  11. Winston-Salem State (4-26)
  12. UMES (3-27)

All-Conference Team:

  • Tavarus Alston (G) – North Carolina A&T – Should lead the MEAC in assists this season, and could be a scoring threat as well.
  • Reggie Holmes (G) – Morgan State – 3rd leading scorer and leading 3pt shooter in the MEAC in 08 will expand his role in 09.
  • Jason Flagler (F) – South Carolina State – Dynamic scorer is SC State’s best chance at post-season success.
  • Neal Pitt (F) – UMES– Tenacious rebounder and defensive force under the basket will lead conference in glass cleaning for second straight season.
  • Kevin Thompson (C) – Morgan State – Could emerge as a secondary scoring option in the low post, and will fill role as interior stopper.
  • Alexander Starling (6th Man, F) – Bethune-Cookman –Versatile forward is Bethune-Cookman’s primary scoring option.

MEAC_logo

What You Need to Know.  The MEAC is a mid-major conference that, while among the lowest rated in RPI, is among the more recognized brands in college basketball outside of power conference competition. The MEAC champion has won three first-round tournament games in the last 20 years, and has produced tough out of conference wins over quality competition in the last three years. (Morgan State defeating Maryland, Hampton defeating George Mason in 2008)

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Checking in on the… SWAC & MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2009

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC Conferences. With the end of the regular season imminent, both conference wrap-ups are below this week.

SWAC Wrap-Up

And so it is nearly finished. A final act for the SWAC conference that is low on team talent, but with a few programs that have a legitimate shot of scoring more than 29 points against the number one seed in the national tournament.

Alabama State paces the conference, and is poised to eclipse 19 wins for the second-consecutive season. On their heels is Jackson State, with just two conference losses on the year and one courtesy of Alabama State.

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Checking in on the… MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2009

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC Conferences.

The big news in college sports this week was national signing day for high school football players. But basketball is king in the MEAC, so we look back on the obvious, the shocking and the downright ugly in this week’s wrap-up.

THIS WEEK – And here come the Coppin State Eagles. Again. Last year’s team ripped off eight of their last nine regular season contests heading in to the MEAC tournament, and you know the rest. They’ve won four in a row and five of their last seven after a murderous 2-13 start. Maybe there is something to taking so many out-of-conference beatings.

While the Eagles are rising, the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats are falling. The Wildcats were tops in the conference at the outset of conference play, but have lost their last three games at home, the last two to conference bottom feeders Delaware State and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Here’s what’s in between.

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Checking in on the… MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on December 13th, 2008

JC at HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC Conferences.

And now its time for America’s favorite Mid-Major soap opera, The MEAC and the Rest of Us. The MEAC is a major player in college basketball, yet its member schools consistently play dwarf to the Cinderella dreams of  conferences like the Atlantic 10 and the Big South.

So now its time for the little guys to find their dancing shoes.

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Checking in on the… MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC Conferences.

Unlike its black college counterpart, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference knows how to effectively manage its early season maulings. The conference is a combined 15-36 so far, not bad given early season opponents have included Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky and Oklahoma. The MEAC is quickly emerging as one of the mid-major conferences to watch. They may not be primed to run upset city, but they are quickly preparing to take up residence.

THIS WEEK

Hampton University and Morgan State University are the cream of the crop in the MEAC. The two teams have wins over George Mason University and Marshall University, and will begin a stretch of competition against comparable mid-major teams. You know, the Mount Saint Marys and Akron Zips of the world.

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2008-09 Conference Primers: #30 – MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2008

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC conferences. 

Predicted order of finish:

  1. Morgan State University  (22-11) (14-2)   
  2. Hampton University  (18-12) (11-5)   
  3. Norfolk State University  (16-15) (11-5)  
  4. Delaware State University  (14-16) (10-6) 
  5. N.C. A&T State University  (15-16) (9-7)   
  6. Florida A&M University  (15-17) (9-7)   
  7. Coppin State University  (16-21) (7-9)   
  8. South Carolina State University   (13-20) (7-9)     
  9. Bethune-Cookman University  (11-21) (5-11)  
  10. Howard University  (6-26) (3-13)  
  11. Maryland - Eastern Shore  (4-28) (2-14) 

MEAC Logo

What You Need to Know (WYN2K). The MEAC is not a conference you want to sleep on this year. Two teams from the conference earned automatic bids to postseason play last year, with the conference champion Coppin State Eagles making it to the play-in game of the Big Dance, and regular-season MEAC champion Morgan State appearing in the NIT. With a loaded stock of Division I transfers across the board, in-conference parity and out-of-conference guaranteed games against power-conference opponents, the MEAC will be among the toughest mid-major conferences in the country this season.

Predicted Champion. Morgan State (#16 Seed NCAA).  While the MEAC is usually relegated to play-in purgatory (four of the last five years), the Morgan State Bears could reverse the 16-seed blues this season. In several mid-major polls last season, the Bears were ranked in the Top 25 as a result of strong showings against the Big East (4-pt loss at UConn) and ACC (4-pt loss at Miami). Todd Bozeman is the reigning MEAC Coach of the Year, and returns two key starters in All-MEAC forward Marquise Kately and sharpshooting guard Reggie Holmes.

Others Considered. Norfolk State could surprise many in the conference this season. An early season road victory against the Richmond Spiders last year served notice of their depth and offensive talent, and they have several seniors returning. Despite the transfer of forward Matt Pilgrim, Hampton is also a team to watch because of forward Theo Smalling, who will likely be among the conference leaders in rebounding and minutes played this season.

Games to Watch. The MEAC doesn’t have many games with national intrigue, but in conference, these contests will be a litmus test for post-season mettle.

  • Morgan State vs. Coppin State (12.6.08) – In the first game since the Eagles defeated the Bears to capture the conference championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament, the intensity of this Charm City rivalry will heighten one of Baltimore’s signature athletic contests.
  • Hampton vs. Virginia Commonwealth (12.27.08) - Could be a bracket-busting test for an NCAA tournament-tested program in VCU. A win for the Pirates contributes to state bragging rights and boosts recruiting efforts at home.

RPI Booster Games. Several MEAC teams are participating in tournaments and classics, which present the best opportunities for upset wins.

  • Hampton @ Virginia (12.23.08)
  • Morgan State @ Utah (Glen Wilkes Classic) (11.22.08)
  • NC A&T @ Akron (12.13.08)

Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. Nah.

Neat-o Stat. Of the top ten individual scoring leaders in the MEAC last year, only Howard’s Eugene Myatt will be playing this season. Morgan’s Jamar Smith, Coppin State’s Tywain McKee, Bethune-Cookman’s Dewayne Pettus, and Delaware State’s Roy Bright were all seniors, while UMES’ Ed Tyson is academically ineligible for his senior season.

65-Team Era. The MEAC is responsible for two of the only four #15 over #2 seed wins in history,  #15 Hampton over #2 Iowa St. in 2002, and #15 Coppin St. over #2 South Carolina in 1997.  The only other win of the era was in 2004 in the PiG over Lehigh. 

Final Thought. At least the MEAC isn’t the SWAC, right?

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ATB: The Debut of E-Giddy

Posted by rtmsf on November 13th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.12.07

Story of the Night. For the life of me I cannot remember, what made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise, for the life of me I cannot believe, we’d ever die for these sins, we were merely freshmen… (h/t Verve Pipe ca. 1997) Ok, we’re already sick of talking about this year’s freshman class, but GOOD GOD are these youngsters talented or what? The idea that college hoops was somehow “better off” when kids were going preps-to-pros looks a little ridiculous now, doesn’t it? We’re not necessarily fans of one-and-done either, but we have a sneaky feeling that during the next CBA between the NBA Players Assn. and the owners, the rule will change to two years post-HS as to when a player can declare for the draft. We can’t wait to get these guys in college for more than a year.

Things We Saw. So given the SOTN, we’ll start with a game we didn’t actually see, #11 Indiana v. Chattanooga (see below vid). Out of all the frosh, the player we’ve been most excited to see has been E-Giddy – no disrespect to Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley or anyone else, but Eric Gordon has been the guy who seems most likely to make our jaws drop. We still haven’t actually seen him, of course, but look at this debut line – 33/6/4 on 9-15 shooting (7-11 from three). Plus, some of those threes on the highlights were about 6 feet behind the line – kid has mad range. What’s more is that Kelvin Sanctions’ team needed it, because the Hoosiers were down 4 at the half to a game Chattanooga team. DJ White added 17/4/2 blks in the winning effort, and yeah, IU showed some areas for improvement (rebounding), but make no mistake about it, this is probably the best inside/outside tandem in the country and a huge reason why we have Indiana going to the F4 next April (Indiana 99, Chattanooga 79). Moving to games we actually viewed, #14 Duke was impressive tonight – better than we’ve given them credit for. The thing about the Devils (esp. at home) is that they’re absolutely going to terrorize people defensively with their m2m defense and their traps. Traps lead to turnovers, turnovers lead to dunks and threes, dunks and threes lead to an avalanche of points and a rocking CIS, and before New Mexico St. anyone knows it, you’re already down twenty and your players are completely befuddled and rattled. That’s how Duke plays, and therefore, the only way to beat the Devils at home is to treasure possession of the ball and avoid those demoralizing runs. NMSU had 26 turnovers and allowed Duke to hit 13 threes tonight – how do you think that’s going to end for them? We do still wonder about Duke’s lack of interior size, though (Duke 86, New Mexico St. 61). Tonight’s #11 Oregon-W. Michigan game exhibits why we’re so high on the Ducks this year. Four of their five starters (Taylor, Porter, Hairston and Leunen) can lead the scoring column on any given night. Tonight it was Hairston’s turn, as he went for 29 on 9-11 shooting (3-3 from three). Not many teams have that kind of skilled and experienced offensive balance that they can throw at you every night. Now… defense might be their achilles heel. The Ducks did give up 58 pts in the second half tonight, and it’s hard for us to believe a team that gives up that many pts to anyone is a legitimate contender, but maybe Ernie Kent can shore that up as the season progresses (Oregon 97, Western Michigan 88).

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Other games we caught briefly. LSU once again brings out some lineup of five jumping jacks ranging in height from 6’4 to 6’10, and not one of them has the first clue how to play basketball (thanks John Brady!). Another rook who is getting no hype but is in the Stromile Swift/Tyrus Thomas mold is Anthony Randolph. He very nearly put up a trip-dub in his first game as a Tiger (19/13/6 blks) (LSU 72, SE Louisiana 62). We tried to watch some of #13 Texas’ debut w/o Kevin Durant, but the pace put us to sleep. We heard that DJ Augustin led the way with 19/2/4 assts (Texas 58, UT-San Antonio 37). We also watched a little bit of Ohio St.’s first game since the Findlay disaster, and it appeared that the Buckeyes were getting Matta’s message. Even though four players scored in double figures led by David Lighty (17/8/4), we really wonder if OSU has any depth to speak of this year (Ohio St. 91, Wisc-GB 68). #2 UCLA was the nightcap, and even though Kevin Love had good numbers (21/9), there was one second-half series of shot/block/putback/block/putback where K-Love just didn’t look very explosive around the rim. Thick, yes. Strong, yes. Skilled, yes. But explosive? We were hoping he’d power through and dunk on someone like that when he held position to the rim. Didn’t happen (UCLA 83, Youngstown St. 52).

Interesting Scores. Boston College 68, Florida Atlantic 62. BC might be in for a really rough year. Syracuse 97, Siena 89. What is UP with those horrid Cuse unis (see below vid)? Oh, and rook Jonny Flynn (28/5/9 assts) looks like he’ll be a fun one for Boeheim. Maryland 70, Hampton 64. This one didn’t surprise us that it was close – we’re not sure what to expect from the Terps this year, but we know that Hampton is a good team.

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Upset Alert. Another D2 team over a D1 team, albeit a low major (Cal St. San Bernardino 71, Weber St. 59).

On Tap Today (all times EST). 53 games, but not very many interesting ones. The best ones are either not televised (Toledo-Vandy) or on the freakin’ U (TAMU-ORU).

  • Michigan St. (NL) v. Chicago St. (ESPNU) 7pm – ho-hum.
  • Toledo v. Vanderbilt (-5) 7pm - this is a really interesting game for both teams’ at-large profiles.
  • Syracuse (NL) v. St. Joseph’s (ESPN) 7pm - upset alert – Cuse goes down at home.
  • Mercer (NL) v. Alabama 7:30pm – Mercer has a chance for another big win at home this time.
  • Miami (OH) (NL) v. Xavier 8pm – should be a good southern Ohio battle.
  • Gonzaga (-28) v. Idaho (FCSP) 8pm - we want to see if Daye can keep it up.
  • Ohio St. (NL) v. Columbia (ESPN) 9pm – an Ivy school not named Penn or Princeton on ESPN?
  • Texas A&M (-15.5) v. Oral Roberts (ESPNU) 9pm – upset alert – TAMU could lose this game.
  • UC Irvine (NL) v. Nevada 10:30pm – Nevada needs to regroup and win this game.
  • UCLA (NL) v. Cal St. San Bernardino (ESPN2) 10:30pm – there won’t be many other D2 teams on ESPN2 this year.
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CBE Classic Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on November 12th, 2007

While we’re at it, here’s the CBE Classic (formerly Guardians Classic) bracket, which actually started last night (Maryland and Hampton won), but has the bulk of games starting tonight.

 

CBE Classic BracketM

CBE Classic Bracket

Unless Hampton takes down Maryland later tonight (very possible!), we don’t see the possibility of an upset in the four regionals of the CBE Classic.  Mizzou is currently keeping Central Michigan in the game, but we figure they’ll open it up in the second half and come out of their region easily the next night.  UCLA will have no problems whatsoever with either team it plays.  And Michigan St. could struggle a little with UL-Monroe, but it should no worries tonight against Chicago St.  Our take – all four hosts advance.

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