The 2021 MEAC Tournament bracket
- The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament gets going in earnest Thursday, March 11, at Norfolk’s Scope Arena, with the championship game taking place there Saturday, March 13
- North Carolina A&T earned a trip to the semifinals by virtue of its Southern Division championship, while Coppin State is the Northern Division champ
- See the odds, seeds, bracket, and full tournament preview, below
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament heats up with quarterfinal action Thursday, March 11, capping with the championship game Saturday, March 13. All games will be played at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.
In a deviation from the format used in previous years, the 2021 edition of the tournament will seed teams using their divisional placement, rather than their finish in the conference as a whole.
As such, North Carolina A&T, as the Southern Division champ, gets an automatic spot in the semis. Coppin State earns a trip there by virtue of its Northern Division crown.
2021 MEAC Tournament Odds
|Norfolk State (N2)||+240|
|North Carolina A&T (S1)||+275|
|Coppin State (N1)||+300|
|Morgan State (N3)||+300|
|Florida A&M (S2)||+700|
|North Carolina Central (S3)||+800|
Odds as of March 8th.
The Norfolk State Spartans play their home games at Echols Memorial Hall on campus. But Scope is just a short drive away down Brambleton Avenue. That proximity to the tourney venue, along with head coach Robert Jones’ roster, are two big reasons why NSU is the tourney favorite.
🚨 All-MEAC ALERT 🚨
— NSU Athletics (@NSUSpartans) March 5, 2021
Leading the way for Norfolk State are Devante Carter and Joe Bryant Jr. The pair received all-conference honors for their respective performances this season.
Carter was an All-MEAC second team, selection. The senior is fourth in conference scoring (15.9), seventh in assist-turnover ratio (1.5) and eighth in assists (3.8). The Newport News native is shooting 43% and has scored in double figures in all but one game this year.
Meanwhile, Bryant was voted to all-conference third-team after averaging 10.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists this year.
The Spartans feature the highest overall rating of any MEAC team, coming in at No. 234 (slightly above Morgan State at No. 241). They rate in the top-50 of several categories, including three-point shooting (37.0%, good for 39th), steal percentage (7.5%, good for 36th) and defensive non-steal turnover percentage (11.9%, good for 33rd).
This is the best the MEAC has to offer from an efficiency standpoint and is literally playing the tourney in its backyard.
Going Out in Style
In their final season in the MEAC, the North Carolina A&T Aggies look to bring home their 17th conference title before departing for the Big South next season. The Aggies last participated in the Big Dance in 2013.
Leading the way for Will Jones’ squad is senior Kameron Langley, who earned second-team All-MEAC honors and made the five-player conference defensive team. Langley averaged 10.6 points and led the MEAC with 6.7 assists and 2.7 steals in 19 games this season. Langley had been projected in the preseason as the player of the year after having averaged 9.4 points and 8.0 assists last season.
— NC A&T Men’s Basketball (@ncatmbb) March 6, 2021
A&T was 11-10 overall during the 2020-21 campaign, facing teams like Illinois, VCU and Stanford during its non-conference slate (all losses). But the Aggies were 7-1 in MEAC play and are rated in the top-10 in a pair of categories on KenPom: defensive turnover percentage (23.9%, good for 9th) and defensive non-steal turnover percentage (13.1%, good for 6th).
This is a squad that faced superior opponents this season and played well against conference competition. Look out for the Aggies.
Cop Two It
There’s some pretty big reasons why the Coppin State Eagles earned the top seed in the Northern Division. Senior guard Anthony Tarke is the conference Player and Defensive Player of the Year, while younger brother Nendah Tarke is the MEAC Rookie of the Year.
Congrats to Anthony & Nendah!https://t.co/RaRo6pRLRy
— CoppinMBB (@CoppinMBB) March 5, 2021
The elder Tarke was the only player in the nation to average at least 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals per game this season, Meantime, his little bro isn’t too shabby either. Nendah finished with 9.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game this year while shooting 50 percent from the floor. Tarke improved once MEAC play commenced, upping his scoring output to 11.8 points per game in conference play.
Coppin State’s head coach? Juan Dixon — he of the 2002 NCAA Tournament MOP as a member of the National Championship Maryland Terrapins team.
Despite a losing overall record of 9-12 this season, the Eagles flew to an 8-4 league mark and could be dangerous in the tourney considering their talent on the floor and experience on the sideline.
At the end of the day though, this seems like Coppin State’s tourney to lose. The Eagles have arguably the best roster and a coach who knows what it takes to make deep runs in March.
The pick: Coppin State +300
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.