In any postseason conference tournament, it can be a challenge to advance, as you play teams you are very familiar with, and who know just as much about you. The best play the worst, and the two wind up in those slots for fairly apparent reasons.
Except in the MEAC. It is well known to those who follow this conference that seeding quite literally means nothing come conference tournament time. In fact, the MEAC recently had a multi-year stretch where the top seed didn't even win a game, let alone the conference's autobid.
Given that information, you could argue that Jordan Parks' layup with 11 seconds left to defeat Coppin State when they met in the regular season is a result that is either extremely useful or completely goddamn worthless as a predictive tool.
Good news, owner of that second opinion, you were absolutely right. Because the Eagles (of NCCU) didn't just beat the Eagles (of Coppin State) by a final tally of 91-43. It could be argued that the game wasn't even that close.
Consider the following:
- Coppin's two leading scorers, Arnold Fripp and Taariq Cephas, combined to shoot 8-for-16 from the floor and 5-for-7 from 3-point range for a solid 23 points. The rest of the team shot 7-for-34 and was just a hot mess.
- In the last 14 minutes of game action, Coppin turned the ball over 12 times, and also missed 12 of the 14 field goals they attempted.
- That included a stretch of 3:22 where they didn't attempt a shot. Not didn't make a shot, didn't even attempt a single shot.
- North Carolina Central scored 52 points in the paint. They could have missed every shot they took from outside of about 10 feet and still won this game by 28.
- "I, like Coppin State, am just reaching for anything at this point."
- "And who?[silence]...Guess who?[more silence]...Guess who?[still nothing]... That young man Jordan Parks."
- "North Carolina Central, who I'm going to start referring to as the Cobra Kai, because they show no mercy."
- Also, the fact that they could not figure out why Nimrod Hilliard's left thumb was taped for the entire second half (he jammed it deflecting a pass in the first half).