North Carolina Central will take its first steps into the deep NCAA Tournament pool when it faces off against Iowa State on Friday night. Here are four reasons NCCU has a legit shot of beating ISU in San Antonio.
1. History is on NCCU’s side
The MEAC has just three NCAA wins outside of the play-in game, but one of them came against…Iowa State. We know, we know…none of the guys who played against Hampton will be suiting up against NCCU. But the similarities are pretty compelling–a highly regarded ISU team faces off against an upstart MEAC squad less than a decade removed from competing in the CIAA…starting to sound a little better, right?
2. The Eagles won’t be easily rattled
NCCU is a veteran team, led by senior guard tandem of Emmanuel Chapman and Jeremy Ingram, the MEAC’s Player of the Year. Grad student Reggie Groves also has a knack for making little plays that come up big. If NCCU gets down early, they have plenty of leaders to keep them composed and in the game.
3. Jeremy Ingram is the kind of guy that gives ISU problems
Guards who can get to the basket have been ISU’s Achillies heel all season. The majority of the Cyclones losses have come against teams who had backcourt mates combine for over 30 points. Add in the 29 that Andrew Wiggins put up against them in Feburary, and it’s pretty clear that if Jeremy Ingram can score, the Eagles have a chance.
4. Day One of the tournament proved the difference between seeds aren’t that big
The first day of the 2014 NCAA Tournament saw an 11 Seed (Dayton) and two 12 Seeds (Harvard and North Dakota State) pull off upsets. Why not NCCU?