Hampton remains team to beat in MEAC tourney

As the MEAC men’s basketball tournament gets underway March 4-8, with the championship game being played March 9, teams are getting poised to start their runs tonight at the conference championship.

Hampton University 23-6, 17-1 sits atop the conference and in addition to being the projected favorite in the MEAC tournament, may possibly receive an at-large bid to the NCAA competition set to begin later this month.

However, the other teams in the MEAC have conference title aspirations of their own.

“This tournament is wide open. I see six or seven teams with a legitimate shot of winning it,” said Howard University head coach Frankie Allen.

Howard enters the tournament with an overall record of 16-12.

Despite an up-and-down season, SCSU assistant coach Francis Simmons feels his squad can compete with any top notch program the MEAC has to offer.

“We were projected to finish first or second in the conference, but if we can put together a few games, we’ll be in good shape,” Simmons said.

Although Delaware State suffered a recent setback at the hands of Norfolk State, Hornets assistant coach Jarrell Wilkerson is upbeat about his club’s chances.

“We have to put it behind us, regroup and take it into the tournament,” Wilkerson said.

Florida A&M, 9-18, 9-9 in conference, seems to be finding its offensive and defensive stride at this critical juncture of the season.

It is just that type of consistent play as of late that has Florida A&M head coach Mike Gillespie optimistic about tonight’s tournament.

“We’re playing good basketball, maybe the best basketball we’ve played all year,” Gillespie said.

The Rattlers will play last-place Morgan State, 2-24, 2-16, today at 1:30 p.m. FAMU swept the teams’ season series.