Predicted Order of Finish.
- North Carolina A&T (20-10) (15-3)
- Morgan St. (15-12) (13-5)
- Coppin St. (14-15) (12-6)
- Hampton (13-15) (10-8)
- Delaware St. (12-16) (10-8)
- Norfolk St. (14-15) (10-8)
- Bethune-Cookman (15-15) (8-10)
- Florida A&M (13-16) (8-10)
- South Carolina St. (9-18) (7-11)
- Howard (7-21) (6-12)
- Maryland – Eastern Shore (6-24) (6-12)
- Winston-Salem St. (5-23) (3-15)
WYN2K. As bad as the SWAC is as a conference, the MEAC is only marginally better. But make no mistake – it IS better. Computer rankings for the last three years reflect that the MEAC lords over the SWAC, as it has won over twice as many OOC contests (70-268; .261) than its sister conference over the last three years. Yet, the MEAC champion is still a play-in game stalwart, finding itself in three of the last four PiGs and entering the NCAAs as a #16 seed each of the last five years. Exhibiting the same problem with OOC “guarantee games” as the SWAC, only Florida A&M and Delaware St. had overall winning records last year. Now, if the league could only keep its coaches out of trouble… Morgan St.’s Todd Bozeman (yes, that Todd Bozeman), SC State’s Jamal Brown and FAMU’s Mike Gillespie have all experienced legal trouble in the last year (Brown and Gillespie were fired).
Predicted Champion. North Carolina A&T (#16 Seed NCAA). Aggie Pride is back, as former Louisville champion (1980) and current A&T head coach Jerry Eaves continues to rebuild a program that was an NCAA regular in the 80s/early 90s (ten trips from 1982-95). Lightning-quick PG Steven Rush leads the charge for the 27th quickest tempo in the nation, and it doesn’t hurt that he has F Jason Willis and a cast of five other senior regulars from a team that made a late push in the MEAC last season.
Others Considered. Todd Bozeman’s Morgan St. squad intrigues us because his team improved leaps and bounds over 2006 based largely on the attitude shift he instilled into the program. Plus, he’s bringing the best recruiting class into the league this year. Hampton is also a team to watch because of Rashad West, a 6’1 playmaker who is likely the best player in the league. Coppin St. returns all five starters from an underachieving squad last year.
Games to Watch. Similar to the SWAC, there’s only one game that will matter in the MEAC.
- MEAC Championship Game (03.15.08).
RPI Booster Games. The MEAC plays 43 games against BCS conference opponents this year, and all but one is on the road. The key point here is that the home game is definitely winnable, as are a couple of other road games.
- Colorado @ Florida A&M (11.15.07)
- Hampton @ Virginia (12.19.07)
- NC A&T @ Miami (FL) (12.23.07)
Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. Zero. See SWAC.
Neat-o Stat. Don’t come to this league if you’re seeking beautiful offense. Nine of its eleven teams last year rated in the bottom 20% of teams nationally for offensive efficiency, and three of its teams (UMES, Howard, Norfolk St.) earned the ignoble distinction of being the least efficient defensive teams in the nation.
65-Team Era. Counting PiGs, the MEAC is 3-22 overall, with two trips to the second round – Hampton (#15) over Iowa St. (#2) in 2002, and Coppin St. (#15) over South Carolina (#2) in 1997. The MEAC is responsible for two of the only four #15 over #2 seed wins in history.
Final Thought. At least the MEAC isn’t the SWAC, right?