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MEAC Update: Norfolk State tops the power rankings as conference play heats up

Norfolk State and NC A&T are hot but the league is rather close this year.

NCAA Basketball: No.Carolina A&T at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The MEAC is getting crazy, and conference play is just getting started. We’ve seen overtime thrillers, comebacks, upsets and even an ejection. There are some clear favorites so far but every game matters as most teams can still make an impact during this time of the year.

It’s almost halfway through the MEAC slate, and here’s your MEAC update for the week.

Power Rankings

  1. Norfolk State (11-10, 6-0 MEAC)
  2. North Carolina A&T State (10-9, 5-0 MEAC)
  3. North Carolina Central (9-10, 4-1 MEAC)
  4. Bethune-Cookman (8-11, 3-2 MEAC)
  5. Florida A&M (6-14, 3-2 MEAC)
  6. Howard (8-12, 2-3 MEAC)
  7. Coppin State (3-18, 3-3 MEAC)
  8. Morgan State (7-12, 2-4 MEAC)
  9. South Carolina State (4-17, 2-3 MEAC)
  10. Savannah State (4-14, 1-3 MEAC)
  11. Maryland Eastern Shore (2-14, 1-5 MEAC)
  12. Delaware State (3-16, 0-6 MEAC)

What’s Going on in the MEAC?

Since the last time we checked up on the MEAC, things have gone haywire. Howard dropped games against Bethune-Cookman and Morgan State. This Bison got on track and beat SC State last weekend but lost another close game but to Harvard. A quick pause, it’s very weird to have a non-conference game this far into the season but nonetheless, Howard has had an interesting one so far.

What’s also interesting was the start that Bethune-Cookman had to the season. The Wildcats started 1-2 in MEAC play but have won their last two. The last team they beat just picked up its first win over a Division I opponent all season. That team is Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Hawks played okay against NC Central and NC A&T, both in close losses. But they then found the winner’s circle, beating Florida A&M by two points lastSaturday.

Despite the overtime loss, the Rattlers have had a fair start so far. They started their season with a major road win over Howard, then played close against Norfolk State in a loss. Since the NSU loss, the Rattlers have been 2-1 but the loss to UMES isn’t so pretty.

What’s pretty is the roll that Norfolk State has been on as of late. The Spartans are currently 6-0 and have closed out all of their games in dominating fashion. There have been a few close calls but our darkhorse pick of the season is now the top horse. They have BCU, HU, and FAMU coming on the schedule within the next two weeks but the Spartans will be ready.

Speaking of ready, the Aggies of NC A&T are ready for clutch moments. Four of their MEAC games has been decided by 9 points or less. After some transfers from last year’s team, Jay Joyner stated this before the season:

“We will not have a drop off in terms of talent.”

Yep, no drop off seen. He will have the chance to prove that again as the Aggies face their rival NC Central this weekend. The Eagles have seen some interesting games recently. They started 2-0 and then faced Delaware State and won by only one point. That DSU team is still winless in the MEAC but most MEAC fans did not expect such a close score. This past weekend, Coppin State came to Durham and beat the Eagles on their home floor. After the loss, coach LaVelle Moton said this:

After that, the Eagles secured a 28-point win on Monday against Morgan State. Moton’s ability to pull his team together is unmatched, thus the reason he’s so respected in the MEAC and even wanted by bigger programs. Let’s talk about the team his Eagles just defeated.

Morgan State has seen a fair share of close moments all season. The Bears started well with a win over UMES, but lost to Savannah State by one and SC State by four points. They beat Howard last week in an overtime thriller. But later lost to NC A&T by four points this past weekend. Overall, MSU is a good team but it just shows how tough the MEAC will be this season.

The majority of the conference is able to knock off each other. It’s been quite evident so far. So buckle up and enjoy the ride; the MEAC’s parity is strong this year.

Co-Player of the Week: Stanley Davis (Morgan State)

Stanley Davis has been on an absolute tear since conference play has started. Against UMES and Savannah State, he scored 15 points in both of those games. In the SC State contest, he exploded for 28 points and 19 rebounds. He notched another double double against Howard with a 21-point and 10-rebound performance. He dropped another 18 points against NC A&T this past weekend.

Stanley is aggressive on defense and a lethal shooter. He’s going to talk trash and make every second count. He’s truly a key component to his team.

Co-Player of the Week: Ronald Jackson (NC A&T)

Ronald Jackson has burst on the scene after two breakout performances during the weekend. He started with an efficient game against Morgan State. He scored a season-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting. Jackson shot 70 percent from the free throw line as well. Against Coppin State, he topped his season high, this time scoring 23 points. He only missed one shot from the floor and two shots from the free throw line. Jackon’s last few games are definitely a boost to an already hot A&T basketball team.

Games to Watch Out For

Saturday, January 26

Bethune-Cookman vs Morgan State

Maryland Eastern Shore vs Norfolk State

Florida A&M vs Coppin State

North Carolina A&T State vs North Carolina Central

Florida A&M vs Coppin State

South Carolina State vs Savannah State

Delaware State vs Howard University

Monday, January 28

Maryland Eastern Shore vs Howard University

Bethune-Cookman vs Coppin State

Florida A&M vs Morgan State

North Carolina Central vs Savannah State