– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
NORFOLK, Va. — Two teams clearly separated themselves from the pack during the 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference basketball season, but can those teams complete their dominant run in the league with a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth to go with it?
Starting on Monday, the 2019 MEAC Basketball Tournament got underway at the Norfolk Scope in the Hampton Roads section of southern Virginia. The men’s and women’s seasons saw two teams emerge as the cream of the crop: Norfolk State, 14-2 in league play on the men’s side, and North Carolina A&T, who went a perfect 16-0 in league play on the women’s side.
While a number of conference champions on the men’s side have found themselves playing in the First Four/play-in game portion of the NCAA Tournament as of late, it is easy to forget the impact MEAC teams have had in some of the historic moments in the history of the NCAA Tournament. In 1997, Coppin State became just the third No. 15 seed to defeat a No. 2 seed, taking out South Carolina in Pittsburgh and losing by one, 82-81, to Texas with a chance to make the Sweet 16; In 2001, Hampton, while a member of the MEAC, pulled off a shocker in Boise by defeating Big 12 powerhouse Iowa State; and in 2012, Norfolk State used the power inside of Kyle O’Quinn to oust No. 2 seed Missouri.
What magic will be in store for us at The Scope for the next six days? We are excited to find out, and are elated that our photographer, Yusuf Abdullah, will be courtside for a number of the men’s and women’s tournament games to capture all of the great moments to come on the way to crowning two champions. Stay tuned to A Lot of Sports Talk over the next week, not only for coverage of the MEAC, but for coverage of other conference championships that we will have covered live, including the Big East and Conference USA.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday and Tuesday’s action, with all photos taken by DC-Area photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 20 pictures in total.