Southern has played some tough opponents in the non-conference season. (Washington Post photo)
1. North Carolina Central: The Eagles are 7-3 with wins over teams from the ACC, Southern, Big South conferences. Heading into January, they look like the HBCU squad with the best chance of getting the coveted 15th seed in the NCAA Tournament if they win the MEAC.
2. Texas Southern (4-7): There may be teams with better records, but Texas Southern is a better team than its record indicates. Check the schedule. And with a game-changer like Aaric Murray, there’s no place to go but up for this team.
Pendarvis Williams and Norfolk State are in the running for another MEAC regular season crown. (Daily Progress photo)
3. Norfolk State (8-5): Many people wondered how Norfolk State would do without Anthony Evans. So far. so good.
4. Hampton (5-7): Once this young squad comes together, watch out. Could be this year’s NC A&T.
5. Southern (4-7): The Jags have played a tough non-conference schedule, going up against the likes of Marquette, Florida and Baylor. After playing those types of teams, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling should be a breeze.
Emilio Parks leads the charge for 9-2 Johnson C. Smith. (JCSU photo)
1. Johnson C. Smith (9-2): JCSU has it all. JUCO transfer LaMarquis Letchaw has stepped right in as a threat from the perimeter (16.1 ppg), and Emilo Parks has been dominant down low (17 ppg, 8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks per game.) This looks like the type of team that could keep the CIAA Tournament trophy in Charlotte.
2. Livingstone (7-2): Livingstone’s record is solid, despite the fact that neither of its top-two scorers, Mark Thomas and Jody Hill, are shooting better than 43 percent from the field.
Joel Kindred, St. Aug (St. Aug photo)
3. St. Aug (7-3): No one really knew what to expect out of St. Aug after a summer coaching change, but Del State transfer Amere May has St. Aug looking like a contender in the tough CIAA Southern Division.
4. Lincoln (7-2): Lincoln dropped a tough one to JCSU in its conference opener, but it is still the favorite in the CIAA’s Northern Division.
5. Benedict (5-3): Benedict is the only SIAC team with a winning record.