The past two years the MEAC champion has run into the buzz saw that is South Carolina. Norfolk State held its own against the No. 1 overall seed in the 72-40 first round loss in the NCAA Tournament and may have fared well against a different No.1 or lower seed. Here’s what head coach Larry Vickers had to say about the shake the MEAC and HBCUs receive.
On an individual level, he said that his team has to take care of business during non-conference play. He noted that the Spartans 67-61 loss to Penn State was a game that could’ve swayed things in NSU’s favor had they won.
Vickers added that it’s a challenge for teams in their position to schedule tougher competition, which is why it becomes imperative to get big wins when they can.
From the selection committee, Vickers said it would be beneficial to gauge the conference by the top teams and what they’ve been able to accomplish. He said he feels the top teams have strong resumes and sometimes that gets overlooked.
“The top of our league is amazing,” he said. “I think people focus on the bottom of our league instead of the top. And it’s unfortunate because the bottom of other leagues are bad too and nobody focuses on them. The top of our leagues are amazing and people need to focus in on that.”
The SWAC faced a similar issue this season with defending conference champions Jackson State lost in the tournament to Southern and as a result received a WNIT bid. This sparked a discussion on Twitter where Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin proposed an idea that would give mid-majors and HBCUs more than one spot to compete for.
McPhee-McCuin explored the idea of the regular season championship holding more weight.
Neither the SWAC nor the MEAC have had a seed higher than 15 since 2014 when the Hampton Pirates were seeded 12th.