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MEAC Monday: Conference check-in, power rankings and more

As the nonconference slate has tortured the MEAC, conference play is almost here.

NCAA Basketball: Morgan State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Christmas is almost near, winter break is here for students like me...but most importantly, it’s MEAC Monday! Here’s where the league stands with conference play just around the corner:

Power Rankings

  1. Howard (6-4)
  2. Bethune-Cookman (4-8)
  3. Morgan State (4-5)
  4. Norfolk State (4-8)
  5. North Carolina Central (4-8)
  6. Savannah State (3-9)
  7. North Carolina A&T State (3-6)
  8. Florida A&M (3-8)
  9. Delaware State (3-7)
  10. South Carolina State (2-10)
  11. Maryland Eastern Shore (1-10)
  12. Coppin State (0-12)

What’s Going On Within the MEAC?

Non-conference play has not been fair at all recently to the MEAC. There have been some close calls or just plain blowouts; both are part of the business.

Morgan State has been on the more positive side as of late, as the Bears defeated Binghamton and Towson in recent weeks. Seems like another few nights in the office but it was not. MSU pulled a 20-point comeback against Binghamton. Three days later, the Bears defeated Towson at Royal Farms Arena. The win marked the first time that the Bears defeated their rivals since 2013. The star in that game is our player of the week. Talking about rivals, let’s check on MSU’s rivals, first starting with Howard.

Howard has fared well compared to MEAC standards during this stretch of the season. The Bison suffered close losses to George Washington and Fordham, and then picked up a key win over American on the Dec. 8. Despite some losses, Howard has looked like the strongest team so far. What hasn’t been strong is Coppin State as a whole. The Eagles are currently winless and it doesn’t seem to get better with Notre Dame and Houston still on the schedule. Juan Dixon has to keep his team together as conference play is lurking.

Elsewhere, Bethune-Cookman is the conference favorite and has had a few close calls as of late. The Wildcats had an eight point loss to Jacksonville, two-point loss to Cal Poly in OT, and also lost by two to San Jose State. Isaiah Bailey is averaging 12 points as Malik Maitland is averaging a little over 13 points per game. The Wildcats haveQuinnipiac and Boston University left before they open conference play. Everyone’s favorite coach LeVelle Moton and the NC Central Eagles had a close loss to Coastal Carolina on Sunday, in which Raasean Davis had 15 points. Meanwhile, Delaware State is slowly putting things together. Kevin Larkin dropped a hot 40 points a few weeks back as DSU faced non-Division I Cairn.

After its major win over Hampton, Norfolk State has been rather quiet. The Spartans have close losses to Kent State and Rider. Nic Thomas is always consistent for the Spartans, so remember his name as conference play starts. For its part, North Carolina A&T has won four out of its last five games. The Aggies latest win came over Tennesse State. Also congrats to the Aggies for winning the Celebration Bowl, a college football bowl game that pits the MEAC and SWAC champions, so expect Corbett Sports Arena to be quite rowdy these next few home games.

Player of the Week: Sherwyn Devonish-Prince Jr, Morgan State

Devonish-Prince Jr. has posted averages of 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 assists per contest, as he helped lead the Bears to two wins in their last two games. He shot 52.2 percent (12-of 23) from the field while shooting 66.7 percent from the three-point line as the team improved to a 4-5 overall record.

He dropped a season-high 19 points (8-17 FG) to lead the Bears to a comeback victory against Towson in the Charm City Classic on Dec. 8. His pacing and quick play helped pushed MSU in that contest.

The 18-year-old leads the Bears in scoring (9.9 PPG), free throws (.920 FT%) and steals (1.4 spg). He also ranks second on the team in minutes per game (24.4 MPG).

Duo of the Week: Qua Copeland and Milik Gantz

This Aggie duo combined for 52 points in a win over Tennessee State on Sunday. Copeland went 10 for 17 with 27 points. Milik Gantz went 11 for 15 with 25 points. Both players played 38 minutes each and pretty much went on a rampage as North Carolina A&T picked up a key nonconference win. Look out for both players as they face Virginia Tech in a tough road contest this week.

Games to Watch

Monday, December 17, 2018

Florida A&M @ Utah

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Florida A&M @ Oregon

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bethune-Cookman @ Quinnipiac

North Carolina A&T State @ Virginia Tech

Delaware State @ Delaware

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Howard University @ Ball State

Friday, December 21, 2018

Florida A&M @ Portland

North Carolina A&T State @ Minnesota

Bethune-Cookman @ Boston University

Coppin State @ Louisiana Monroe

Norfolk State @ UTEP

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Maryland Eastern Shore @ American

Morgan State @ Old Dominion

South Carolina State @ University of Cincinnati

Savannah State @ Iowa

Delaware State @ Weber State

Hampton vs Howard (Game to Watch)