2: 2013-14 North Carolina Central
Record: 28-6, 15-1
NCCU was the new kid on the MEAC block at the start of the decade, and not many people expected much from them, at least early on. The school had a proud basketball history from its CIAA days, first under John McLendon in the 1940s and then in the late 1980s when it won the NCAA Division II Championship, but it hadn’t actually won a conference title in over 60 years.
Former NCCU guard LeVelle Moton took over the reigns of his alma mater in 2009 as it began its D1 basketball history. He built his team around a pair of talented guards — scorer (Jeremy Ingram) and playmaker (Poobie Chapman) — which led the team to 22 wins during the 2012-13 season. By the time the reached senior status that season along with Reggie Groves and junior big men Karamo Jawara and Jordan Parks the program was ready to soar.
On Nov. 20, 2013 NCCU went down the road to Raleigh and beat NC State 82-72 in overtime for the program’s first win against an ACC or Power Five squad. From there the team picked up steam and other than a 63-60 slip up to FAMU, pushed through the MEAC with a 15-1 record in the regular season. The tournament was merely a formality as NCCU finally had a conference championship to call its own. It was awarded a no. 14 seed against Iowa State, and a popular pick to be the next HBCU March Madness moment. It didn’t happen, but NCCU finished the season 28-6, which would prove to be the best MEAC Basketball record of the decade.
Key players: Jeremy Ingram (MEAC Player of The Year), Poobie Chapman, Jordan Parks, Karamo Jawara