|Rashid Gaston will need to up his production if Norfolk State hopes to upset North Carolina Central. (Hampton Roads photo)|
North Carolina Central vs. Norfolk State
The hometown team against the favorites in the MEAC semis. At first glance, this might look like an easy win for NC Central, especially after the way the ran through the conference in the regular season and dominated Howard on Wednesday. But don’t be fooled by Norfolk’s fourth-seed, as they are arguably the best team in the conference outside of NCCU. These two teams met last week with NCCU gritting out a 76-70 win in Norfolk.
This game will feature the same teams in the same city, but the intensity will be on another level. The Spartans enter this game as an underdog to the high-flying Eagles, who will be looking for their eighteenth win in a row. They will undoubtedly have the crowd in their favor as they will be playing just miles away from their campus.
This game will feature several of the MEAC’s best players: NCCU’s Jeremy Ingram and Poobie Chapman, as well as Norfolk State’s Malcolm Hawkins and Pendarvis Williams. What may ultimately be the defining factor of this game is whose supporting players will rise to the occassion. If NSU hopes to upset NCCU, it will have to get more than the 10 points and 10 rebounds it got from forwards Michael Goode and Rashid Gaston.
|Justin Black and Morgan State are one win away from their second-straight MEAC Championship Game. (Slamonline photo)|
Morgan State vs. Coppin State
These Baltimore-based squads are very familiar with each other. They’ve played twice already this year, with Morgan State taking both matchups. The Bears are a more experienced team, having made it to the MEAC Championship Game last year. Still, this won’t be a walk in the park for Morgan, who has been beaten by A&T and Delaware State this season.
If Coppin can hit the boards and provide balanced scoring, there is a very real chance they could beat Morgan. It wouldn’t be the first time that Fang Mitchell’s squad has gotten the best of Todd Bozeman’s Bears in the MEAC.