2020 MEAC Tournament Opening Odds

MEAC Tournament
Can Norfolk State take down the MEAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed? Photo by @13BrianSmith (Twitter).
  • The MEAC Tournament takes places from March 10-14 at the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA
  • North Carolina Central is the top seed after a conference best 13-3 record, but Norfolk State is the betting favorite
  • See the full field odds and the best pick to earn the NCAA Tournament bid below

North Carolina Central is seeking its fourth straight MEAC title at this year’s conference tournament which runs from Tuesday, March 10 to Saturday, March 14 at the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA.

The winner of the tournament will earn a bid into March Madness and a potential chance to battle one of the top contenders in the 2020 NCAA Championship odds.

The top seeded Eagles are not the betting favorites however. That honor belongs to Norfolk State, who will be playing just 2.5 miles away from its home arena.

2020 MEAC Tournament Odds

Team (seed) Odds at MyBookie
Norfolk State (3) +170
North Carolina Central (1) +270
North Carolina A&T (2) +350
Bethune Cookman (4) +500
Morgan State (5) +1200
Coppin State (6) +2000
South Carolina State (7) +3000
Delaware State (8) +6500
Maryland Eastern Shore (9) +8000
Howard (10) +9000

Odds taken March 6th.

The No. 3 seeded Spartans were undefeated in conference play on their home court and while they won’t be playing at Joseph G Echols Hall, Norfolk Scope is so close that the stands are sure to be packed with Norfolk State supporters.

MEAC Tournament Bracket

2020 MEAC Tournament Bracket

Is Norfolk State a Deserving Favorite?

The Spartans enter the tournament riding a three-game winning streak. They finished 12-4 in MEAC play, and their 75% conference winning percentage is the second highest in school history. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the MEAC, finishing second in points allowed, steals and opponent field goal percentage, and are actually the highest graded MEAC team in KenPom’s efficiency metrics.

The problem I see with their conference title prospects is their road to the championship. As the No. 3 seed, they’ll likely have to go through both North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central, two teams they finished behind in the standings.

They were winless against both schools this season, and have been stymied by the Eagles at this tournament in the past. North Carolina Central has defeated Norfolk State in two of the past three MEAC title games, including in 2019 as an underdog.

Eagles Flying High

North Carolina Central enters the conference tournament as the hottest team in the MEAC. They’ve won five straight and nine of 10 overall, and look nearly identical to last year’s championship squad. They feature eight returnees, including MEAC player of the year Jibri Blount.

The senior forward is averaging 19.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and has put up a double-double in three of his past five outings. The Eagles lead the conference in shooting percentage and points allowed, and force the second most turnovers per game.

They’ve beaten every team in the tournament at least once this season and the fact that the three-time reigning champs are not favored feels disrespectful. To be the champs you have to beat the champs, and getting the best team in the conference at +270 is an absolute bargain.

Aggies Represent Strong Value

If straying from the top two programs on the odds board no look no further than North Carolina A&T at +350. They’re the only team in the tournament with multiple first-team All-MEAC players, and senior guard Kameron Langley is the conference’s all-time assists leader.

The Aggies own wins this season over North Carolina Central and Norfolk State as mentioned, and average a conference best 80.6 points per game. They lead the MEAC in assists, rebounds and steals, and allow the conference’s lowest field goal percentage from behind the arc.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

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