Remember when North Carolina Central beat Mizzou in Columbia in Nov. 2016?
The Eagles are still swinging, and have brought the conference trophy to Durham in the past two years, and are primed to do it again. With a record of 15-15 overall and 10-6 in-conference clip aren’t numbers you shouldn’t take at face value.
NCCU started the season off winless, but both games were on the road and against Clemson and Cincinnati- both teams currently projected to be in 68-team NCAA men’s tournament, according to the ESPN’s brackeologist Joe Lunardi. This team is very talented at every position, after how they performed against the Tigers and Bearcats, the Eagles might be getting less.
For that reason, the Eagles are the favorites to win this tournament. No team wants to match up against Raasean Davis, who averages nearly 15 points and 9 rebounds a game.. In conference games that the Eagles won, Davis scored above his season average, including a season-high 25 points in a narrow win over Delaware Stat Jan. 14. Head coach LeVelle Moton is widely respected as the best coach in the conference’s best coach, having won conference coach of the year six times throughout his nine-year career.
The MEAC offers a sneaky group of teams that won’t let NC Central on its pursuit for the three-peat off easily. The Howard Bison perfectly fit that description, and are my sleeper team of the tournament. The last time the team won the championship was 1980, and since have had a few attempts come up short.
The Bison are led by a truly special talent. RJ Cole leads the conference in both points per game and assists per game, at 22 and 7 respectively. He can score from anywhere on the court, his passing ability is better than most, but most importantly- he’s a team leader. He reminds me of the NBA-counterpart Kyrie Irving. For those reasons, keep the Bison on your radar, and maybe this year will end the drought for them.
The tournament tips off Mar. 11 at 5:00 central, between Delaware State and Savannah State, all the way up to the championship game on, Saturday Mar. 16 at noon.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org