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.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.