You might not think all that much about the teams in the MEAC this year, but either the Norfolk State Spartans or the Bethune Cookman Wildcats are going to be dancing when the two meet on Saturday in their conference final.
It has been a heck of a run here for the Wildcats, as they have made it to the conference final and could be dancing in spite of the fact that they were below .500 at the start of this conference tournament. The team was the No. 4 seed, but it still had to go through three games in four days to be able to reach this point in Winston-Salem. None of the games have been easy for sure, as nine-point wins against the South Carolina State Bulldogs and the Hampton Pirates were a lot more difficult than they looked, while that one point win over the North Carolina Central Eagles was obviously a nervy battle. This isn’t the greatest or the deepest team that you have ever seen, but it is definitely a crew with some talent out there. Kevin Dukes and Adrian Coleman are the two leading scorers at 11.5 and 11.4 points per game respectively, though two others on the team are also good for double digits per game. Aside from that though, this team isn’t all that fantastic, and if these four don’t step it up and get their points, the Wildcats are going to be sent packing.
Norfolk State was probably the best team in the MEAC all season long, and it unexpectedly actually had quite the easy road to get to the final. The team only had to beat the No. 10 Howard Bison and the No. 11 Florida A&M Rattlers, and now, it doesn’t even have to contend with any of the top seeds in the MEAC Tournament. Of course, Norfolk State knows that, in spite of its 24 wins this year, its season is said and done with if it loses on Saturday. Kyle O’Quinn has been the man of the hour for the Spartans all season long, and he is going to have to come up with another big effort to send his team to the dance. O’Quinn is the MEAC’s leading rebounder at 10.6 boards per game, and he is also easily the leading scorer on the team at 16.0 points per game. The rest of the front court is rather shoddy for Norfolk State though, and that could make a big difference if O’Quinn gets into foul trouble. This is, after all, a big man that has a lot of contact on the inside on both ends of the court, and he has averaged well over three fouls per game this year.
The Final Word: With apologies to the Spartans, we think that they are an overrated team that had an easy road to reach this point. BCC has looked like a gritty team during this whole tournament, and we just love that spunk. Don’t be overly shocked if the Wildcats end up packing their bags for Dayton and the play in games when this one is said and done with.
Bethune Cookman Wildcats @ Norfolk State Spartans Pick: Bethune Cookman Wildcats
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.