Tuesday, March 7, 2006

MEAC Tournament Preview

Click here for a complete index of all the conference tournament previews.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference had a very solid and balanced conference season. Even though they were next-to-last in the conference RPI, six teams finished between 10-8 and 12-6 and Delaware State won the league at 16-2. Only four teams were below .500 in the conference. However, there was only two teams that were above .500 overall, but they had 3 teams in the top 15 in non-conference RPI. With all that said, the conference tournament should be exciting, with several teams capable of winning it.

Favorite: Winning the league by four games and have an RPI nearly 100 points higher than the next next ream usually constitutes someone being the favorite. Therefore, Delaware State heads into the league tournament with the #1 seed and the bulls-eye on their back. They have won 16 of their last 18, and also own a road win at MAC champion Kent State. The Hornets own the league's best scoring defense, but also the worst scoring offense in the MEAC. However, they take care of the ball and are efficient shooting it. Wing Jahsha Bluntt is one of the best players in the conference, and can carry DSU on the offensive end. Point guard Darrin Shine is an excellent distributor, while Tracey Worley and Joe Dickens are solid scorers from the perimeter.

Contenders: Even though Coppin State finished in second place, I think that South Carolina State might be the main threat to Delaware State. They have won 8 of their last 10, including wins over Coppin State and Delaware State. Brian Mason is an excellent all-around player on the wing, while Thurman Zimmerman might be the conference's best post player. Derrick Davis has played well lately, and is a solid point guard. Bethune-Cookman owns the league's best offense and likes to force turnovers and get points in transition. They have also defeated each of the top three teams in the league in the last ten games. Antonio Webb is one of the better guards in the MEAC, while the Wildcats also own one of the league's top forward tandems in Michael Williams III and Sam Barber. Anis Taylor is a solid performer in the backcourt.

Sleeper: After the real contenders in the glut of above .500 teams, Florida A&M may be the best of the rest. They have won 2 in a row and 3 of their last 5, and are playing very good basketball. Tony Tate is one of the best guards in the conference, and Rome Sanders is a solid forward. Brian Greene and Jonathan Kelly are big, versatile wings who can score and get rebounds. Glen Elliot adds height up front.

Prediction: Although they don't look overly impressive on paper, Delaware State is the best team in the MEAC. They play excellent defense, are efficient on offense, and don't turn the ball over very often. Moreover, Jahsha Bluntt carried the Hornets last year and he could do it again this year. They have experience after winning last season's conference tournament, and giving Duke a scare in the first round. They could do the same this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment