The 2013 MEAC Tournament began on Monday, March 11th here in the local area. The men’s and women’s tournament is being played at the Norfolk Scope. The finals of both tournaments will be played on Saturday, March 16th. The winners will receive automatic bids in both the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments.
Norfolk State entered the MEAC Tournament highly favored after finishing the regular season undefeated in conference play. With their 16-0 conference record, Norfolk State joined Gonzaga and Memphis as the only teams to finish the regular season with undefeated conference records. However, despite the strong regular season play, Norfolk State opened the conference tournament with a 70-68 overtime loss to Bethune-Cookman.
Bethune-Cookman finished the regular season with a 14-19 overall record and a 7-9 conference record. They entered the tournament as the eighth seed and despite that, handed Norfolk State a crushing defeat in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Tournament.
After trailing 33-23 at halftime, Bethune-Cookman fought back in the second half and sent the game into overtime on an Adrian Coleman layup in the final minutes of the game. Bethune-Cookman was able to take the lead in overtime and Norfolk State guard Pendarvis Williams missed a jump shot in the final seconds to give Bethune-Cookman the victory.
The loss destroys Norfolk State’s chances to defend their MEAC Tournament title and to advance into the NCAA Tournament. It is highly unlikely that Norfolk State will receive an at-large bid into the tournament.
Upsets have been a common theme in the men’s bracket of the MEAC Tournament. The second-seeded team, NC Central also loss in the quarterfinal round, falling to seventh seed North Carolina A&T 55-42. Also in the quarterfinals, sixth seed Delaware State upset third seed Hampton 63-60 and fifth-seed Morgan State defeated fourth seed Savannah State 64-61. The tournament semifinals will feature Bethune-Cookman (8) versus Morgan State (5) and Delaware State (6) versus North Carolina A&T (7).
On the women’s side, the higher seeds have prevailed for the most part. There was a slight upset in the quarterfinal round as the fifth seed, Coppin State defeated the fourth seed, South Carolina State, 55-53. Coppin State will face top-seeded Hampton in their semifinal game and Howard (3) will face North Carolina A&T (2) in the other semifinal game. Hampton finished the regular season undefeated (16-0) and is looking to win their fourth straight MEAC Tournament title.