The MEAC is officially bonkers. We’ve used revolution as a theme in this column before, but the 2018 MEAC season has been a complete reversal of last year’s status quo. Savannah State wasn’t even supposed to be eligible this year and finished a quiet 9-7 in conference. But with the doors closing on their NCAA eligibility, the Tigers have ridden their brand of insane basketball to a 10-1 start in conference. Their 97-94 OT win on Saturday was actually a disappointing offensive output after five straight games of going over 100 (all in regulation!). But fear not: the Tigers made up for it by beating North Carolina A&T, 108-106 on Monday.
North Carolina A&T is not an NMTC member, but the Aggies are sitting in second place with an 8-3 conference record. That’s insane considering the Aggies went 1-15 last season and 3-29 over the year. They have already gone from the three worst teams in the country to have a shot at winning the conference and making the NCAA Tournament over a year. That’s wild. The Aggies are also the highest rated team in the conference on KenPom.
Then you have Bethune-Cookman, which went 6-10 in conference last year. Now the Wildcats are 8-3. What happened to NC Central, last year’s tournament representative? NC Central went 4-0 to start conference play and are now sitting at 6-5.
What does this mean? IT’S TIME TO BREAK OUT INTO A BROADWAY MUSICAL BASED ON HISTORY!
I mean, “Les Misérables” is the perfect musical for the NMTC, right?
This just has to be the year for the Summit League. Five of the top six teams in the conference are in the Never Made the Tourney Club. The best team in KenPom is South Dakota (65th). North Dakota State is on a down year. We can’t screw this up, right? What could possibly stop the Summit League from giving us what we want?
QUEUE HANS ZIMMER MUSIC!
(South Dakota State is 10-1 and we already know how this ends. Hopefully we escape this hell.)
Let’s check in with the troops!
Army played Navy in basketball last Saturday. In their first meeting, Army defeated Navy 64-62 on the road and gave us all hope. The Black Knights are 2-7 since that game. The rematch ended in a 68-59 drubbing in West Point. Unless Army can string together some wins in the the Patriot League Tournament, Army will be back here again next year.
We haven’t covered Grambling State in this column because they are academically ineligible and cannot make the NCAA Tournament. That was fine when the Tigers were 0-3 in conference and 4-12 overall. They haven’t lost since Jan. 6. Yes, the Grambling Tigers are now 10-3 and would have a great shot to take the bid if they weren’t freakin’ academically ineligible. Of course, let’s forget the whole idea of academic ineligibility makes no sense after the NCAA couldn’t penalize UNC for a systematic program of fake classes.
Whatever. We can say Grambling made the NCAA Tournament in our heads, even when Texas Southern takes their spot anyway. Ivy Smith has scored 20+ points in his last five outings. The defense is forcing teams into bad shots and just hunts for turnovers (64th turnover percentage in the country). We should get to see them make the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Very sad. Rules are rules. Sigh.
HARTFORD IS 7-4 in the America East ALLLLEZZZZZZZ HAWKS!