A couple of years ago, the Triangle Tribune’s Bonita Best triggered a lot of debate when she called Hampton the “Carolina” of the MEAC. With the regular season now over and a couple of days before the start of the conference tournament, we figured we’d take that a step further. So, without further ado, we present our MEAC/ACC program comparisons.
North Carolina A&T = North Carolina
These two state schools have a lot in common. Both of their basketball traditions got started in the mid-50s, when UNC’s Frank McGuire and A&T’s Cal Irvin turned their teams into powers in the ACC and CIAA, respectively. Both schools have over 15 conference tournament titles, so winning is expected.
Hampton = Duke
Private schools that win are pretty easy to hate. Both of these teams fit that bill. Hampton has won the MEAC tournament four times since entering the league in the mid-1990s and engineered one of the conference’s signature moments with it’s 2001 upset of Iowa State. Add in the fact that these two teams share the same colors, and it’s a pretty easy match.
North Carolina Central = Syracuse
Much like the new kids on the ACC’s block, it hasn’t taken NCCU long to make an impact in the MEAC. NCCU has recorded 20+ wins in two of its first three seasons back in the conference, and are the favorite to win it all in Norfolk.
Bethune-Cookman = Virginia Tech
BCU and Virginia Tech are both football schools who are traditionally mediocre at best when it comes to hoops. BCU has won just one regular season MEAC title, and never won the MEAC Tourney.
FAMU = Florida State
Both these schools from the Sunshine State are deeply rooted in football, but they’ve had some basketball success too. FAMU was a basketball power back in its days as a SIAC power and have had some good years in the MEAC as well, winning four conference tournaments.
Norfolk State = NC State
The Spartans and Wolfpack have produced great basketball players and have plenty of conference tournament champions. Despite that, they both find themselves in the shadow of nearby rivals quite a bit.
Howard = Wake Forest
Private schools are a little easier not to hate when they don’t win often. Both these schools have only had sporadic hoops success, so they don’t inspire the kind of disdain that Hampton and Duke do.
Coppin State = Georgia Tech
Neither of these teams are the first team you think of when naming conference powers, but they have had their moments. Both schools were at the height of their powers in the 80s and 90s, with Fang Mitchell and Bobby Crimmins running the show.
Morgan State = Maryland
This one has more to do with geography than anything else. Both teams were national powers in the 70s, and have won conference tournaments since the turn of the century.
South Carolina State = Clemson
Truth be told, South Carolina State has had much more success in the MEAC than Clemson has had in the ACC. But it’s South Carolina so…
Savannah State = Miami
Both teams are relatively new to their league, but have had decent success. SSU won the MEAC’s regular season title in 2012, and continues to be one of the more solid programs in the conference.
Delaware State = Boston College
These two teams have just three conference tournament titles between them. Typically tough regular season teams that flame out in the tourneys.
UMES = Virginia
Both teams have been in their conferences since inception, but have little to show for it. UMES and Virginia both have just one conference tournament championship each. And neither one has a football team…oh wait…