Rattler basketball teams play on despite schedules

Two weeks ago, then-fifth ranked North Carolina went on the road to play then-third ranked Wake Forest.

Wake Forest defeated North Carolina 95-82. That victory, though impressive, brought much debate because North Carolina wouldn’t have the chance to play Wake Forest on its own home court this season.

Analysts and fans said that since they are in the same conference, they should play twice, once at home and once away.

The FAMU men’s and women’s teams have a similar gripe as both teams get set to take on Delaware State this weekend in Dover.

Conferences such as the ACC and MEAC that have an odd number of teams have to play a few teams once or not at all. Each team is allowed to play 27 games not including the conference tournament. Each team can only play a maximum of 18 conference games, with FAMU having 10 conference opponents and an 18 game maximum they have to play two teams twice.

The men’s and women’s teams said they don’t really mind because they know that they have to be prepared to play every team in the conference tournament. They also said every team in the MEAC should play one another twice.

Players of the men’s team, 4-4 in the MEAC and 5-10 overall, wish they could play Delaware State at home where the Hornets have yet to beat the Rattlers in Gillespie’s tenure as head coach.

On the reverse side, they have yet to beat the Hornets in Dover.

“It’s (Delaware State) one of the toughest places to play,” Assistant Coach Mike Gillespie Jr. said. “They have a small gym, in the middle of nowhere similar to a high school gym. So they have a real advantage up there.”

Despite having to go up to Delaware State Gillespie Jr. explains that they could have drawn a worse hand.

“No one has an unfair advantage. Though we go up to Delaware State, we don’t go to Howard, which is also a very difficult place to play.”

As far as the women go, Head Coach Debra Clark said she realizes there are 11 teams and they just have take advantage of each game and play sharp, poised, confident and mistake free.

Delaware State’s women’s team, which is fresh off a 56-37 victory against Morgan state, has its work cut out for.

FAMU has won two of its last three games, including Monday’s last second victory over South Carolina State.

If FAMU needs any extra motivation besides the fact that they are only playing them once, Delaware State ended their season last year when they defeated the lady rattlers in the MEAC tournament 74-62.

Head Coach Debra Clark said she has the same mindset going in as she does with any other opponent. She also said she’s going to prepare the same way she does with any other team even if she’s only playing them once.

“We’re fresh off a hard fought victory. But we still have some things that we need to improve on,” Clark said.

Clark said it doesn’t matter who FAMU plays.

“There is a lot of parity in the MEAC this season. Every team is good and anyone can beat anyone. It’s going to be a dog fight,” Clark said.

Contact Arize Ifejika at thefamuansports@hotmail.com.