Mid Eastern Athletic Conference
The conference made noise in last season's NCAA tournament, when Norfolk State knocked off No. 2-seed Missouri in the first round. It was the third time a MEAC team won an NCAA game, following Hampton in 2001 and Coppin State in 1997.
1 ENCORE. Norfolk State was picked to finish fourth and has much work to return to the postseason. Center Kyle O'Quinn and three other starters are gone from a team that finished 26-10. The rebuilding effort begins with guard Pendarvis Williams, a preseason all-conference pick.
2 FAVORITE. Defending regular-season champ Savannah State was an overwhelming choice to repeat. The Tigers return all significant players from the team that finished 21-12 overall, 14-2 in the league and earned the No. 1 seed in their first season as a competing member.
3 BEST PLAYER. Savannah State's Rashad Hassan was voted preseason Player of the Year. A 6-7, 215-pound forward, he wasn't a prolific scorer (13 ppg), but played well in all phases. He's part of a core group of four fourth- and fifth-year seniors for the Tigers.
4 SCHEDULE. Per usual, MEAC teams will test themselves and make guarantee game money along the way against power conference schools. For example, Coppin State's non-league schedule includes Indiana, Saint Joseph's, Texas and Southern Cal. Savannah State faces Ohio State, Saint Louis, Florida and Marquette.
5 CONTENDER. If Savannah State falters, Delaware State will challenge. The Hornets were picked second and have three all-conference players in guard Tahj Tate, forward Marques Oliver and guard Casey Walker. Tate was the conference's leading freshman scorer (16.1 ppg) last season.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun