The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was one of the weaker conferences in college hoops this past season. Despite the shortcomings throughout the league, the competition will be high this week with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament up for grabs.
Last year, Norfolk State won the conference and claimed a 15 seed in the Big Dance. The Spartans knocked off No. 2-seeded Missouri in the second round, sending shock waves throughout all of college basketball. It was one of the more memorable games of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Who, What, When
The MEAC Tournament takes place at the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Va., March 11-16.
The 13-team conference invites all of league members to participate in the tournament. The top three seeds, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central and Hampton, all receive byes for the first round. The teams seeded 4-13 play, with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. Then come the semifinals and championship rounds.
March 11 - 4 p.m.: No. 8 Bethune-Cookman vs. No. 9 Coppin State (Game 1); 6:30 p.m.: No. 4 Savannah State vs. No. 13 UMES (Game 2); 9 p.m.: No. 5 Morgan State vs. No. 12 South Carolina State (Game 3)
March 12 - 6:30 p.m.: No. 7 North Carolina A&T vs. No. 10 Florida A&M (Game 4); 9 p.m.: No. 6 Delaware State vs. No. 11 Howard (Game 5)
March 13 - 6 p.m.: No. 1 Norfolk State vs. Game 1 Winner (Game 6); 8 p.m.: No. 2 North Carolina Central vs. Game 4 Winner (Game 7)
March 14 - 6 p.m.: No. 3 Hampton vs. Game 5 Winner (Game 8); 8 p.m.: Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner (Game 9)
March 15 - 6 p.m. Game 9 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner; 8 p.m.: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner
March 16 - Semifinals Winners
A full tournament bracket can be found here.
Who The Numbers Like
North Carolina Central. The lone MEAC team in Kenpom's top 200 efficiency rankings, North Carolina Central, ranked 149th in the country, enters the tournament as the favorites to cut the nets down.
Who The Eyeballs Like
North Carolina Central. Again, this is arguably the best offensive team in the conference and they like to push the tempo. They are a bit turnover prone, but the Eagles are the most fun team to watch in the lackluster MEAC.
Savannah State. Despite being the No. 4 seed in the bracket, Savannah State is one of the better defensive teams in the country. They rank 27th in defensive efficiency, and if they can just get a couple of their shots to go down, they usually win the game. Don't count them out this week.
Best Possible Title Game
Norfolk State vs. North Carolina Central. Norfolk State won the regular season conference title with a perfect 16-0 record, while NC Central was 15-1. These two programs did not meet in the regular season. This is undoubtedly the best possible championship game with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Players To Watch
Jeremy Ingram, North Carolina Central. Ingram, a junior guard, is one of the best shooters in the conference. He hits 46 percent of his field goal attempts, including 41 percent from behind the three-point line. If the game is close late, he'll toe the free throw line as an 82 percent shooters. Ingram averaged 16 points a game this past season.
Pendarvis Williams, Norfolk State. Williams is a matchup nightmare as a 6'6 guard who can both attack the rim and shoot from behind the arc. He averaged 14 points a night this year, and also helps out on the boards with 4.6 rebounds a game. Williams shot 41 percent from three and is an 81 percent shooter from the foul line.