Chaos rules in Norfolk as top four seeds bounced from MEAC tournament

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When the MEAC tournament began the biggest question seemed to be whether or not the league’s two best teams, defending champion Norfolk State (16-0 MEAC record) and North Carolina Central (15-1) would meet for the right to go to the NCAA tournament.

But in a conference season highlighted by the fact that the two best teams in the MEAC didn’t play during the regular season (yes, Norfolk State and NCCU really didn’t play during the regular season), of course chaos rules at the conference tournament.

Morgan State’s 64-61 overtime victory over Savannah State (19-14) on Thursday night means that the top four seeds have all been eliminated from the MEAC tournament, which likely guarantees that the winner will play its first NCAA tournament game in Dayton.

Justin Black led four Bears (16-14) in double figures with 20 points, and despite 18 turnovers and shooting 5-of-22 from beyond the arc Todd Bozeman’s team is now two wins away from the NCAA tournament. Next up for Morgan State: eight-seed Bethune-Cookman, who knocked off Norfolk State in overtime on Wednesday.

The other semifinal matches six-seed Delaware State, which beat Hampton 63-60 despite the Pirates grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, and seven-seed North Carolina A&T. The Aggies provided the lone “blowout” of the quarterfinals, as they beat North Carolina Central 55-42 on Wednesday.

The MEAC tournament, through no fault of its own, has simply provided more evidence to the argument that a 16-seed isn’t going to beat a 1-seed for the first time in NCAA tournament history this season. And frankly that was a preposterous argument to begin with, regardless of how much parity there’s been in college basketball.

But a conference tournament in which the top four seeds are all eliminated in the quarterfinals? That’s the epitome of March Madness. And given the bizarre scheduling that resulted in the top two seeds not playing during the regular season, maybe this is an appropriate finish to the 2012-13 season in the MEAC.

Photo credit: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.