|Lamont Middleton (30) and Jay Copeland (1) should play a big part in Wednesday’s rivalry game. (Onnidan photo)|
Tonight another chapter in one of the best rivalries in HBCU sports will be written when North Carolina A&T travels to North Carolina Central. These two schools have been rivals since before anyone can remember. NC A&T holds the all-time edge in the series (75-67), but NCCU has the better record this season at 11-5. Still, like that other in-state rivalry, this one is always fiercely competitive.
Last year, NCCU struggled to beat A&T twice in the regular season, despite breezing through the majority of their MEAC schedule. The Aggies had the last word, however, defeating the Eagles in the MEAC Tournament en route to their first championship since the East Coast-West Coast beef.
NCCU will come in as the favorite again tonight. And they should be. They have the conference’s leading scorer in Jeremy Ingram (19.3 ppg), best passer in Poobie Chapman (7 apg) and arguably the conference’s best coach in Levelle Moton. A&T has lost a lot from last season’s championship team, but they are not short on talent. Guard Richaud Pack is third in the conference in scoring (17.7 ppg) and shoots a solid 48 percent from the field, and forward Lamont Middleton can also put the ball in the basket (17 ppg).
The key to this game could be rebounding. Both teams are averaging about 36 rebounds per game, so the team with the rebounding edge just might come away with the win. Rebounds will likely be more important for A&T as they shoot just over 40 percent from the field. Expect NCCU to win, but it will be a close game and A&T will make them work for it.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js This should be a great game. More importantly, it should be on TV. The Delaware State-A&T game was nice, but it can’t light a candle to the atmosphere that will arise from McDougald-McLendon Gym on Wednesday night.