With the New Year comes the start of league play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), with a full slate of action coming on Saturday and four more games on the docket for Monday as teams begin jockeying for position in the 2019 MEAC Basketball Tounament.
On the men’s side, Howard went 6-8 in non-conference play, and the Bison’s resume’ to this point includes wins over UMass and American. Morgan State, North Carolina Central, Bethune-Cookman and Norfolk State have all emerged from non-conference play with five wins each.
Bethune-Cookman, which won a share of the 2017-18 regular-season crown, is the preseason favorite to win the MEAC this year, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. North Carolina Central, the 2018 tournament champion, was picked to finish second. Norfolk State, Howard and North Carolina A&T State rounded out the top five.
Howard guard R.J. Cole was tabbed the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year, and he’s lived up to that billing so far this season, leading the conference in scoring with 21.0 points a contest. He’s also dishing out a MEAC-best 6.8 assists per game, and he ranked fifth in the conference in assist-turnover ratio.
In women’s basketball, Howard and Bethune-Cookman have the best records in the MEAC, both sitting at 7-5 after the first month and a half of the season. South Carolina State, under first-year head coach Audra Smith, sits at 7-6 after defeating Western Carolina last week.
Bethune-Cookman, which shared the 2017-18 regular-season title with North Carolina A&T State, has already posted wins this season over the likes of Liberty, FIU, Jacksonville, North Florida and Kennesaw State. Howard boasts wins over La Salle, NJIT, Fairleigh Dickinson, George Mason, Niagara, Campbell and FIU.
S.C. State has beaten the likes of Presbyterian, Charleston Southern, UNLV and Western Carolina.
North Carolina A&T State, the 2018 tournament champion, has wins so far this season over Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic. The Aggies were tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the MEAC, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
Bethune-Cookman’s Angel Golden, the 2018 MEAC Player of the Year, was named the Preseason Player of the Year heading into 2018-19, and her 20.1 points per game rank second in the conference — behind only Delaware State’s NaJai Pollard.
Pollard, who has four 30-point games and five double-doubles already this season, ranks fourth in the nation in scoring, as well as seventh in field goals made, 16th in blocked shots per game, 40th in double-doubles and 41st in rebounding.
Golden is also prominent in national rankings, sitting 25th in both scoring and 3-pointers per game, and she sits 30th in the nation in total 3-point field goals made.
The 2019 MEAC Basketball Tournament will be March 11-16, 2019 in the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va. Tickets are available through member institution ticket offices, Ticketmaster, or by calling the MEAC office at (757) 951-2055.
For more information, please visit www.MEAChoops.com.
THIS WEEKEND’S SCHEDULE
Saturday, Jan. 5
Maryland Eastern Shore at Morgan State, 2 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman at North Carolina Central, 2 p.m.
North Carolina A&T State at South Carolina State, 2 p.m.
Florida A&M at Howard, 2 p.m.
Savannah State at Coppin State, 2 p.m.
Delaware State at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.
Maryland Eastern Shore at Morgan State, 4 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman at North Carolina Central, 4 p.m.
North Carolina A&T State at South Carolina State, 4 p.m.
Florida A&M at Howard, 4 p.m.
Savannah State at Coppin State, 4 p.m.
Delaware State at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 7
Coppin State at Delaware State, 5:30 p.m.
Howard at Maryland Eastern Shore, 5:30 p.m.
Savannah State at Morgan State, 5:30 p.m.
Florida A&M at Norfolk State, 5:30 p.m.
Coppin State at Delaware State, 7:30 p.m.
Howard at Maryland Eastern Shore, 7:30 p.m.
Savannah State at Morgan State, 7:30 p.m.
Florida A&M at Norfolk State, 7:30 p.m.