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MEAC Quarterfinals Preview: NCCU begins quest for repeat against scrappy Coppin State

Sterling Stewart and Coppin State will face top-seeded NCCU on Wednesday. (Laurence Johnson photo)

Matchup: #1 North Carolina Central (24-6, 16-0) vs. #9 Coppin State (8-22, 6-11)

Regular season meeting: NCCU won 79-77 on Jan. 24

Outlook: Coppin State comes into this game with an 8-22 record, with one of those wins coming Tuesday against Bethune-Cookman. North Carolina Central enters the Wednesday’s matchup as the MEAC’s top seed and best hope for avoiding a 16th Seed/First Four game.

Though they come in on opposite ends of the spectrum, these two teams played each other to a near draw in their only meeting of the season. NCCU escaped with a 79-77 win to keep its home winning streak alive on Jan. 24, but it was one of their closest calls in MEAC play.

What To Watch For: NCCU’s pick-and-roll with Nimrod Hilliard and Jordan Parks has been killing teams all season. Can Coppin keep it in check? (Check the video below)

Jordan Parks scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds vs. Coppin State in the regular season. (Erin Mizzelle photo)

Prediction:

Coppin comes into this game having won 7 of its last 13 contests, and it will no doubt be confident that it can play with NCCU after it’s near-miss in Durham. But that was in January, and these Eagles are a veteran team built for March. Jordan Parks went for 25 and 11 against Coppin in that game, and he’s scored 20 or more points in three of his last four games. NCCU will win again and the margin won’t be as close.

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