North Carolina Central at Delaware State, 7:30 PM Eastern, Delaware State YouTube Channel
The North Carolina Central Eagles went 9-5 in non-conference play including winning a game at Missouri. They were the only team in the MEAC to enter conference play with a winning record overall and had power ratings well over 100 spots better than anyone else in the league. With those results and numbers, we expected the Eagles to run through this conference on their way to the NCAA Tournament automatic bid. That is why it was such a surprise when, back on January 10, they were upset at home by Delaware State, 69-68. Tonight, in Dover, Delaware, the two teams will meet again in a rematch as the Eagles will attempt to avenge their lone conference loss while the Hornets try to shock the MEAC again.
North Carolina Central is currently 14-6 overall and 5-1 in MEAC play, half a game behind 6-1 Morgan State. They remain the only MEAC team with a winning overall record and remain our favorite to capture the conference title. The Eagles are led offensively by seniors Patrick Cole and Dajuan Graf. Cole scored 27 points last time out in a win over North Carolina A&T, while Graf added a double-double, 11 points and 10 assists.
Delaware State enters play tonight at 5-17 overall and 2-5 in the MEAC. Only three of their wins have been against D1 competition — and all three were on the road, including the win at NC Central and an earlier win at St. John’s! Sophomore Devin Morgan was a key in both the St. John’s and North Carolina Central wins. His 26 points against the Johnnies led the team. Tonight, Morgan and his teammates will look to beat a Division I opponent at home for the first time, and secure the amazing season sweep of NC Central. The MEAC has historically had some of the wildest conference tournaments, and this may just be a preview of the 2017 edition if the upset occurs again.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES
-DUKE AT NOTRE DAME (ACC). Duke just picked up a big road win against Wake that will help their paper, but perhaps more importantly will help their morale. They’ve got a very tough road test tonight against a Notre Dame team that’s gunning for a protected seed.
-OKLAHOMA STATE AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve). BEDLAM!!!!!! This is always a great rivalry. This edition features an Oklahoma team that’s playing better, but probably too far outside the bubble to reach it at this point, and an Oklahoma State team that is squarely on the bubble, which means every game they play has a pivotal feel to it.