There hasn’t been a more wild tournament in the country this year than we have seen in the MEAC. Either the fifth seeded Morgan State Bears or the sixth seeded North Carolina A&T Aggies will be dancing though, and that reward will go to whichever one can beat the college basketball odds on Saturday.
It’s all about the defense for the Aggies. If they aren’t holding teams down, they are in a heck of a lot of trouble. They didn’t have their best ‘D’ against the Delaware State Hornets, but they still rank amongst the best defensive clubs in the nation, allowing 60.8 points per game. What’s amazing is that North Carolina A&T was really able to get the job done on the offensive end of the court on Friday. This is a team that hadn’t scored more than 65 points in a game since February 16th, and it had a great 78-point effort against the Hornets. Still, this is a team that is only averaging 61.7 points per game and is shooting 39.3 percent from the field. It’s tough to know that there isn’t a qualified shooter knocking down more than 39.0 percent of his shots this year. G Lamont Middleton and F Adrian Powell are both averaging right around a dozen points per game this season, and the two combined for 36 points in the semifinals on Friday.
In the wild tournament that has played out here in the MEAC, it only seems appropriate that a team like Morgan State could come up with its second best offensive game of the season on the biggest stage. That’s what the Bears did on Friday night against the Bethune Cookman Wildcats in the 82-71 victory. Teams get in trouble against Morgan State when they go to the inside against their defense. C Ian Chiles and F Shaquille Duncan have had great seasons, and they are combining to average over four blocks per game between them. G Justin Black and F DeWayne Jackson have had great tournaments here in Norfolk, and the two are the top scorers on the team at 14.4 and 13.5 points per game. The Bears will have problems though, when it comes to closing out games. They are sloppy at the foul line, and there is only one player on the team that is knocking down more than 65.3 percent of their shots from the charity stripe.
Nothing would be surprising in this game, but we think that the stars for the Aggies are really set to shine. Powell and Middleton have played some of their best basketball of the season, and if these two can get near 40 points between them on Saturday, this is a game that could be going to UNC A&T. North Carolina A&T 68 – Morgan State 63
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.