The HBCU Hoops Power Rankings are back. With teams now in the thick of conference play, what better time is there to evaluate who the top HBCUs are in their division?
1. Morehouse (18-0, 13-0)
No one in HBCU basketball, regardless of division, is playing better basketball than Morehouse right now. Whether its close games like the thriller against Benedict last Monday or blowouts like the ones handed to Paine (100-57) and Lane (85-53), Morehouse has a knack for getting it done.
It helps when you have a potential All-American in the form of Ty Walker, but the Maroon Tigers are more than a one-man show. There’s Martravious Little who can score when needed and Omar Alston providing rebounding and scoring down low.
2. Clark Atlanta (18-1, 13-0)
Having one loss as January ends is usually enough to secure the top spot on this list, let alone the top dog status in your neighborhood. Morehouse’s perfection has been a major emergence this season, but lets not forget that CAU is the defending champ and have won 14 straight.
Unlike their neighbors, the Panthers don’t have a primary weapon on offense. They’ve got three players averaginging between 11 and 13 points, led by Akil Douglas. They also have the biggest scoring margin in the conference, winning by an average of nearly 13 points per game.
3. Virginia State (17-2, 7-2)
Like Morehouse, VSU went through its non-conference schedule unscathed, but its found some resistance in the CIAA. There was the loss against St. Aug, close calls against Winston-Salem State and Elizabeth City State, and then a 10-point loss to a Bowie State team that had underachieved to that point.
The Trojans don’t have a volume scorer at this point, as big man Richard Granberry leads the way with just over 13 ppg. They have a variety of guys who can score, though as six players average at least seven points per game. They are also extremely efficient from long-range, leading the CIAA with a 38.5 shooting percentage.
4. Benedict (17-5, 10-4)
One could make a case for Benedict to be higher as two of its four conference losses came in back-to-back heartbreakers in Atlanta, Saturday against CAU and that legendary Monday night game against Morehouse.
Brandon Morris has a strong case for SIAC Player of The Year as he is fourth in the conference in scoring at 18 points per game and second in rebounds (9.2) while shooting 54 percent from the field. He also gets scoring help from Dimitri Cook and Cairo Brown who both average over 13 points per game and Jelani Watson-Gayle who is averaging better than 12 points.
5. Claflin (17-5, 10-4)
Two weeks ago, Claflin was flying right with Clark Atlanta and just behind Morehouse with one loss. Then came that trip to Atlanta. Since then, Claflin has lost four in a row to fall to fourth place in the SIAC East. With a 17-5 record.
The good news for Claflin, its got back-to-back home games coming up. The bad news, they’ve got to play the Atlanta duo.
Honorable Mention: Shaw, JCSU
Women’s Top Five
1. Virginia Union (19-1, 10-0): VUU hasn’t looked back since an opening-game loss to Edinboro
2. Virginia State (17-2, 7-2): Currently third in the CIAA Northern Division with just two lossses.
3. Central State (17-4, 11-2): Winners of eight of its last nine games.
4. Clark Atlanta (13-7, 11-2): CAU peaking at just the right time, has won 11 of last 13.
5. Lincoln (12-6, 7-3): Fourth best spot in the CIAA North is still good for fifth best on this list.