Monday, March 8, 2010

MEAC Tournament - It's Party Time!

This week in Winston-Salem, N.C., the MEAC will hold a fashion show, its cheerleading championships, a college fair, an after-party - several after-parties, no doubt - a jazz show, a concert featuring the S.O.S. Band and a gospel flight brunch. At various intervals between these festivities, they'll also sprinkle in a few basketball games.

Hampton, the No. 2 seed, and No. 11 Norfolk State will be among the 11 teams vying for the hoops jackpot - a trip to the NCAA tournament. Here's a look at the prospects for the two state teams. Click here for a complete MEAC Tournament bracket.

#2 Hampton (17-11, 12-4 MEAC)
First game: Wednesday, 10 a.m. vs. #10 Delaware State-#7 Maryland-Eastern Shore winner
The skinny: Although North Carolina A&T is the top seed, the Lady Pirates have been arguably the league's best team over the past month. They've won 11 of their last 12 games, a stretch that included a 10-point victory over the Lady Aggies at Hampton. Health could be a issue, as guard Whitney Hill has battled injuries all season and MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Quanneisha Perry has been tending to a sore knee the past few weeks. Then again, Wednesday's quarterfinal will be just their second game in 11 days. And assuming they can get past that, they won't play their semifinal until Friday. Last year, Hampton was a surprise finalist and got blasted by A&T 76-54. This year, the surprise would be if Hampton doesn't make the final, and this time they won't just be happy to be there.

#11 Norfolk State (4-22, 0-16 MEAC)
First game: Tuesday, 4 p.m. vs. #6 Bethune-Cookman
The skinny. Unfortunately, that record looks about right. Could the Spartans have won three or four more games and picked off a MEAC foe or two? Perhaps. But they don't throw parades for 8-18 teams, either. And it wouldn't change the fact that NSU simply doesn't have a competitive Division I roster right now. Coach Debra Clark understood this when she accepted the job last year, and while this season has no doubt done a number on the natural color of her hair, Clark took the job with the full understanding that a rebuilding effort of this magnitude would take a few years, not a few games. If nothing else, this season appears to have yielded a potential star at point guard in freshman Recca Trice, who in MEAC-only games led the entire conference in assists. With Trice having three more years of eligibility, the Spartans appear set at one of the most difficult roster spots to fill. The Spartans can also draw optimism from how quickly Tuesday's opponent turned things around. Two years ago, Bethune-Cookman finished 2-16 in MEAC play. This year they went 9-7 and loom as a dangerous spoiler in this tournament. This timetable seems reasonable for the Spartans. Problem is, none of this will help them Tuesday, when they take the court for what will almost certainly be the final time in the 2009-10 season.

No comments:

Post a Comment