32 Conferences, 32 Previews, 32 Days: MEAC

By Kevin Sweeney

The MEAC as a whole has struggled greatly of late.  Last season, the conference ranked last in conference RPI, per realtimerpi.com, and saw just 2 out of its 13 teams break the .500 plateau.  Each team to represent the MEAC in the NCAA Tournament since 2000 has received a 15 or 16 seed except for NC Central in 2014, which earned a 14 seed.  However, despite lots of roster turnover, there are some talented teams in the MEAC hoping for their chance on the national stage, just as the 2012 Norfolk State team that upset Missouri did, becoming just the 5th 15 seed to win a game at the NCAA Tournament.

Pick:

  1. South Carolina State
  2. Howard
  3. Bethune-Cookman
  4. NC Central
  5. Hampton
  6. Norfolk State
  7. Coppin State
  8. Delaware State
  9. Savannah State
  10. Maryland-Eastern Shore
  11. Morgan State
  12. NC A&T
  13. Florida A&M

Champions: South Carolina State- The Bulldogs are the clear favorites to win the MEAC this season. Incredibly, they are the only team who finished in the top 8 of the conference last season that brings back at least 2 of its top 3 scorers from a season ago.  Guard duo Eric Eaves and Edward Stephens could be the best backcourt pairing in the league, as they combined to average over 30 points per game last year. They also will be battle-tested before getting into the conference schedule, with tilts against Wichita State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Miami, Texas A&M, and Clemson all in the first 2 months.  Those games will give SC State the experience they need to dominate the MEAC.

Dark Horse: Howard- It’s hard to call a team picked second in the conference a dark horse, but after finishing 9th last year, it’s safe to say that just factoring into the championship race is impressive. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if Howard climbed all they way up into first place in the MEAC.  First of all, they have James Daniel, the defending MEAC Player of the Year and the nation’s leader in points per game (27.1 last season). Daniel is one of the top 8 scorers returning from last year’s Howard team, including double-double machine Marcel Boyd, as well as 2 players who missed more than half the season due to injuries in James Miller and Solomon Mangham.  Miller, who averaged 15 points in the 5 games he played, could be the missing piece to fit with Daniel and Boyd.  That trio should scare the rest of the MEAC, and could carry the Bison to a MEAC Championship.

Preseason First Team:

  • F: Marcel Boyd- Howard
  • G: Jordan Potts- Bethune-Cookman
  • G: Pat Cole- NC Central
  • G: James Daniel- Howard
  • G: Eric Eaves- SC State

Player of the Year: James Daniel- Barring a catastrophic injury or and incredible jump from another player, there is no reason to believe that anyone other than Daniel has even a chance of capturing a second straight player of the year award in the MEAC.  Already Howard’s all-time leading scorer at 1,899 career points, Daniel will certainly eclipse 2,000 and perhaps 2,500 career points.  At just 5-11, 165 pounds, Daniel is certainly not physically imposing, but he is not afraid of contact.  He attempted (and made) more free throw attempts than any other player in college basketball, attempting 11 per game.  If he continues to develop, Daniel has a chance to average 30 points per game this season, a feat last accomplished by Charles Jones of LIU-Brooklyn in the 1996-97 season.

Newcomer of the Year: Kerwin Okero (Norfolk State)- Okero looks to fulfill his potential in his lone season with the Spartans. Okero began his career at Iowa State before transferring to Rutgers for 2 seasons, eventually winding up at Norfolk State.  If Okero can provide some scoring punch for the Spartans, who lose their top 3 scorers from last season, it would give Norfolk State a big boost.

One thought on “32 Conferences, 32 Previews, 32 Days: MEAC

  1. isn’t it spelled Compton State?

    Like

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