North Carolina Central entered last season’s MEAC Tournament as the hunted, the league’s top team. This year, they could be one and done.
NCCU’s 93-87 loss to North Carolina A&T gave it a 12-18 mark to end the regular season after losing just nine regular season games in the previous two seasons.
After the loss to A&T, NCCU coach Levelle Moton said his team was missing toughness, along with one other key ingredient.
“Leadership. We’ve been struggling all year to find a leader. Who’s gonna be that guy to hold not only the team accountable, but themselves. Who’s gonna hold themselves accountable,” Moton said. “We expected that from our seniors, and we’ve been struggling with that.”
To be fair, this NCCU team lacks the depth and experience of the teams that led NCCU to three-straight 20-plus win seasons from 2013-15. There is no elite backcourt like the Poobie Chapman/Jeremy Ingram team that led NCCU to the MEAC Championship in 2014 or the Nimrod Hilliard/Jordan Parks combo that led the team to a the MEAC regular season title and an NIT appearance last season.
“I think we’ve been spoiled a little bit by the previous captains and leadership that we’ve had that would normally bail us out of these games.”