With 13 teams in the league and limited room in the MEAC schedule, each conference team plays 11 opponents at least once and five opponents twice in home-and-away games.
That leaves each team failing to face one league opponent, and for the Bears (6-10 overall and 4-0 in the MEAC), that means no games with Savannah State (7-12, 5-0) in the regular season. It’s a scheduling quirk that bugs coach Todd Bozeman.
“I’m one of those guys that thinks we should all play each other at least once, and the rest of it they can figure out,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not like I’m sitting here saying, ‘Man, I wish we could play them.’ I’m not doing that, but I am one of those guys that think we should all play each other once. We didn’t play Bethune[-Cookman] for two years. So this will be the first time in three years that we will play Bethune in the regular season. Sometimes you don’t get a chance to see a team until the conference tournament, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing.”
Morgan State is one win away from opening the conference schedule with five straight wins, which would be the first time since 2009-10. That squad went 17-1 in the MEAC and won the tournament championship, but Bozeman said he is not making any comparisons just yet.
“I don’t really view it that way,” he said. “We’re just trying to get better each game and try to take it one at a time. There’s no more importance on it. It’s just important because it’s a game and because it’s a conference game. So I think that’s important enough for us. That’s what our approach is. It’s a game, and it’s a conference game, and all of your conference games are important.”
The Bears will visit North Carolina A&T this Saturday. The Aggies are 6-12 overall and 2-1 in the league, but will play at North Carolina Central (11-5, 2-1) on Wednesday night.
With Morgan State getting to sit back until Saturday, does the rest give the team an advantage? Bozeman wasn’t so sure.
“When it comes time to play, they’re kids,” he said. “I don’t even think about that. I’m not even focused on that. I’m just trying to prepare our team to make sure that we’re ready when we go down and play. That’s my only concern. I can’t really concern myself about anybody else. If you start thinking about whether they have a disadvantage or not, then what am I doing in terms of my team? All I can do is focus on us and make sure that we’re ready.”