clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ranking the MEAC’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

As usual, the MEAC’s (now) 12 members will be hitting the road frequently during November and December, but they won’t be playing quite as many Power 7 opponents as they did just a season ago.

NCAA Basketball: MEAC Tournament Final-North Carolina Central vs Hampton Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2018-19 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Graphics and tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

Just once in the past 10 season has the MEAC representative escaped lines 15 and 16 of the bracket—LeVelle Moton’s 2013-14 N.C. Central squad that earned a 14 seed after posting a 28-6 record while claiming both conference titles. Norfolk State’s 15-over-2 upset over Missouri in 2012 is the league’s lone non-Opening Round victory in that span, with MEAC squads splitting their four appearances in Dayton over the past decade. Unfortunately, N.C. Central has both of those losses, in 2017 and 2018.

And with the Eagles the conference’s lone top 250 team in the four-year ranking and 10 of the league’s 12 teams in the bottom 25 (a factor which pushed the MEAC below the SWAC and into last place among the nation’s 32 conferences), another 16 seed is likely for this season’s conference champion.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
N.C. Central -3.421885 248 182
Norfolk State -5.1546135 294 261
Savannah State -7.405175 326 330
Morgan State -7.52653 327 322
Bethune-Cookman -7.570165 328 337
Howard -8.771683 335 333
South Carolina State -9.140599 338 334
Maryland Eastern Shore -9.2838125 339 315
N.C. A&T -9.47999 342 348
Coppin State -10.60781 347 339
Delaware State -11.4033225 348 338
Florida A&M -11.598445 350 351
Average -8.447002542 326.8333333 313.0769231
Conference Rank 32nd of 32 (31st in 2017-18)

KenPom Gaps For 2018-19

Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
62 Bethune-Cookman 328 291 37
94 Howard 335 312 23
164 Maryland Eastern Shore 339 339 0
175 Norfolk State 294 296 -2
185 Coppin State 347 350 -3
186 Florida A&M 350 353 -3
192 N.C. A&T 342 346 -4
193 Delaware State 348 352 -4
217 South Carolina State 338 348 -10
234 Morgan State 327 343 -16
242 Savannah State 326 345 -19
288 N.C. Central 248 280 -32

When you’re the lowest-ranked conference in Division I, you’d think that the only way to go would be up. Unfortunately for the MEAC, KenPom projects that just two of the conference’s current 12 members will improve upon their four-year rankings. And with Bethune-Cookman and Howard both buried deep in the bottom 50, their potential improvement probably won’t do much to boost the conference’s national stature. And with former league power Hampton now in the Big South and perennial MEAC heavyweight N.C. Central projected to take a step back this year, don’t look for the conference’s NCAA rep to be any higher than a 16 seed once again.

Ranking The Schedules

As usual, the MEAC hosts some of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the country, but they’re just a little bit weaker than those of a season ago. In 2018-19, the conference’s 12 members average schedule strength ranks between eighth and 11th across the four categories, compared to a range of fourth to seventh in 2017-18. The main difference is a decline at the top. Last fall, five of the league’s then 13 members had non-league slates ranked within the top 100 nationally in most categories. That number dropped to three of 12 teams for 2018.

Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.

Schedule Rankings

Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
15 Coppin State 5.735539063 11 5.735539063 17 5.735539063 21 5.735539063 12
46 Savannah State 4.420609309 44 4.420609309 47 4.420609309 64 4.420609309 33
55 Morgan State 4.163536365 53 4.163536365 58 4.163536365 77 4.163536365 44
147 South Carolina State 2.32241026 140 2.32241026 151 2.32241026 166 2.32241026 132
165 N.C. A&T 2.049227818 155 2.049227818 168 2.049227818 178 2.049227818 147
170 Norfolk State** 2.314322903 141 2.111260278 165 2.289026616 170 1.782247091 168
189 Maryland Eastern Shore 1.745911133 178 1.745911133 190 1.745911133 199 1.745911133 170
191 Florida A&M 1.699272895 181 1.699272895 192 1.699272895 201 1.699272895 172
199 Bethune-Cookman 1.590663014 186 1.590663014 200 1.590663014 209 1.590663014 182
216 N.C. Central* 1.545838062 190 1.250766998 216 1.412513108 220 1.089020888 211
295 Howard* 0.01862103036 275 -0.2327463717 295 0.01737962833 288 -0.4828723717 295
296 Delaware State -0.2465538096 289 -0.2465538096 296 -0.2465538096 299 -0.2465538096 290
165.3333333 Average 2.279949837 153.5833333 2.217491413 166.25 2.26662795 174.3333333 2.155750971 154.6666667
11/32 Conference Rank 8 of 32 10 of 32 11 of 32 8 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

With the majority of MEAC teams sitting in the bottom 50 of the four-year ranking, it’s not a surprise that every single team over-scheduled this year. (Three squads somehow managed to under-schedule a season ago.) A whopping nine teams over-scheduled by more than 100 spots, with Coppin State owning the largest single scheduling gap in the entire country—an unfathomable 332 places above the Eagles’ four-year ranking.

Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
82 N.C. Central 248 215 33
106 Howard 335 294 41
129 Delaware State 348 295 53
259 Norfolk State 294 169 125
266 Bethune-Cookman 328 198 130
286 Maryland Eastern Shore 339 188 151
294 Florida A&M 350 190 160
304 N.C. A&T 342 165 177
315 South Carolina State 338 147 191
343 Morgan State 327 55 272
344 Savannah State 326 46 280
351 Coppin State 347 15 332
256.5833333 Average (31/32 conf.) 326.8333333 164.75 162.0833333

Home, Power 7 Road, And Non-D1 Games

True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
49 0 43 23

Hampton’s departure explains the declines in the number of home and non-D1 games schedules, with those totals dropping by four and three contests, respectively, from a season ago. Once again, no Power 7 team will visit a MEAC arena this fall, while conference members will play nine fewer games in Power 7 arenas this time around.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Non-D1 23 0
ACC 12 0
Big South 12 0
A 10 10 0
American Athletic 9 0
Atlantic Sun 8 0
Big East 8 0
Big Ten 7 0
CAA 7 0
MAC 6 1
MAAC 6 0
Sun Belt 6 0
Patriot 5 1
SoCon 5 1
C-USA 5 0
NEC 5 0
OVC 5 0
SEC 4 0
America East 3 1
WAC 3 1
Pac-12 3 0
Southland 3 0
Summit 3 0
Big West 2 0
Ivy 2 0
MVC 2 0
SWAC 1 2
MW 1 1
Big Sky 1 0
Horizon 1 0
WCC 1 0
Big 12 0 0

The primary reason why the MEAC will play so many fewer Power 7 road games this season? It’s not because of the Big Ten’s expansion of its conference schedule to 20 games—that league scheduled the same number of games against MEAC opponents as last season, seven. Instead, the Big 12, which scheduled six MEAC squads a season ago and none this time around, is main reason for the decline. Otherwise, the top five of this table largely matches last season’s version, though the Big South surged into third place behind the non-D1 group and the ACC. Hampton’s realignment only partly explains their new conference’s rise—only archrivals Norfolk State and Howard scheduled the Pirates this season.

Three Power 7 teams—DePaul, East Carolina, and Virginia Tech—scheduled three MEAC opponents each this season, as did Jacksonville from the ASUN.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 0 31 0 31 2.583333333 0
Quad 2 0 14 0 14 1.166666667 1
Quad 3 4 41 0 45 3.75 3
Quad 4 22 27 7 56 4.666666667 4
Non-D1 23 0 0 23 1.916666667 0
Total 49 113 7 169
Average 4.083333333 9.416666667 0.5833333333 14.08333333
Percentage 0.2899408284 0.6686390533 0.04142011834
Q1 1-30 1-75 1-50
Q2 31-75 76-135 51-100
Q3 76-160 136-240 101-200
Q4 161-353 241-353 201-353

Based on the four-year ranking, just four of the MEAC’s 49 non-conference home games qualify for Quad 3 status, and just three of those feature top 150 opponents. On the other hand, 45 league road games will feature Quad 1 and 2 opposition—with 39 of those featuring in the top 100. In other words, don’t expect many winning MEAC records heading into league play in January.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

15. Coppin State Eagles

*Exempt Event: Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Mainland)

True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (12)
True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (12)
257. UMBC 286. Charleston Southern* ! 22. Wisconsin
197. Tennessee State ! - Spartanburg, S.C. 77. Dayton*
227. Navy
2. Virginia*
177. Rider
151. Wofford*
192. James Madison
113. Richmond
134. UNCG
207. ULM
41. Houston
20. Notre Dame

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Navy) and 1 loss (@UMBC)

Juan Dixon’s first season in charge in Baltimore ended with just five wins—with the Eagles going 0-15 in non-conference play. And with 12 true road games on 2018’s non-conference slate, including trips to Houston, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Wisconsin, a similar start could be in the cards. Fun fact: the second-lowest-ranked team on this schedule, UMBC, made history last March in a game you might have heard of.

46. Savannah State Tigers

*Exempt Event: Commodore Classic

True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (10)
True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (10)
(Non-D1) Middle Georgia State 333. Alcorn State* # 34. Texas A&M
230. Tennessee Tech # - Lynchburg, Va. 57. Georgia
229. Gardner-Webb 176. Kent State*
233. Liberty*
47. Vanderbilt
229. Gardner-Webb
94. South Dakota State
22. Wisconsin
230. Tennessee Tech
56. Iowa

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Middle Georgia State) and 1 loss (@Texas A&M)

The Tigers head into their final Division I season having come so close to finally reaching the NCAA Tournament a season ago. Unfortunately, Horace Broadnax’s squad couldn’t follow up its shared MEAC regular season title with postseason success, as N.C. Central eliminated Savannah State in the MEAC quarterfinals. SSU will get one last chance this season, and five Power 7 road trips (three against the SEC and two featuring Big Ten opponents) should prepare them for anything the conference slate throws at them. Curiously, the Tigers will play a pair of non-conference home-and-home series in their final Division I campaign, against Gardner-Webb and Tennessee Tech.

55. Morgan State Bears

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (6) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (6) True Road Games (7)
(Non-D1) Lincoln 144. DePaul
227. Navy 253. St. Francis (Pa.)
238. Mount St. Mary's 1. Villanova
321. Binghamton 185. George Mason
152. Towson 2. Virginia
139. UNCW 83. Old Dominion
303. Cal State Northridge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Lincoln) and 6 losses (@Binghamton, @Mount St. Mary’s, @Navy, @Towson, @George Mason, @Cal State Northridge)

Todd Bozeman’s Bears claimed a Power 7 victory last November, winning at South Florida by 10. But Morgan State won just three more times during non-conference play before stumbling to a 7-9 MEAC mark. But there’s room for optimism in Baltimore, even with the top two teams in the four-year ranking on this schedule. That’s because the Bears will play six non-conference home games this fall, including five against Division I foes.

147. South Carolina State Bulldogs

*Exempt Event: Buckeye Basketball Classic

True Home Games (3) True Road Games (13)
True Home Games (3) True Road Games (13)
(Non-D1) Brevard 97. Tulsa
(Non-D1) Voorhees 286. Charleston Southern
345. Presbyterian 276. Cleveland State*
35. Ohio State*
149. Purdue Fort Wayne*
243. Samford*
117. College of Charleston
310. Jacksonville
49. Virginia Tech
233. Liberty
314. USC Upstate
237. Miami (Ohio)
11. Cincinnati

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Brevard, Charleston Southern, Jacksonville) and 2 losses (@Presbyterian, @College of Charleston)

With just one Division I non-conference home game (as opposed to two a season ago) and 13 road contests, including four Power 7 contests and a road matchup against defending CAA champ College of Charleston, Murray Garvin’s Bulldogs won’t likely equal their 2017-18 non-league win total of four. And that’s going to make it difficult for S.C. State to improve upon its overall victory total of 10.

165. North Carolina A&T Aggies

*Exempt Event: Maryland MTE

True Home Games (5) True Road Games (9)
True Home Games (5) True Road Games (9)
134. UNCG 69. Wake Forest
341. Central Connecticut State 32. Maryland*
345. Presbyterian 141. Hofstra*
(Non-D1) Greensboro 145. Marshall*
(Non-D1) Mid-Atlantic Christian 238. Mount St. Mary's*
197. Tennessee State
49. Virginia Tech
84. Minnesota
242. East Carolina

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (Greenboro, Mid-Atlantic Christian, @East Carolina, Tennessee State) and 3 losses (@Central Connecticut State, @Presbyterian, @Virginia Tech)

Jay Joyner’s second Aggie squad improved its win total by a whopping 17 games a season ago, even though they finished a game outside of the three-way tie for the MEAC regular season crown and fell to Hampton in the conference semifinals (and then Liberty in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament’s first round). And a respectable run through non-conference play, where the Aggies went 7-8 highlighted by a Power 7 win at East Carolina Pirates, helped Joyner’s squad significantly. But five power conference road games, a trip to Marshall as part of Maryland‘s exempt event, and a visit from SoCon favorite UNCG mean this year’s A&T squad could head into MEAC play even more tested than last year’s version, but with a worse record.

170. Norfolk State Spartans

*Exempt Event: Air Force Reserve Tip-Off (Springfield Bracket)

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (7)
(Non-D1) Mid-Atlantic Christian 226. Siena* 17. Michigan*
(Non-D1) Clarion 180. Stony Brook or 51. South Carolina*
(Non-D1) NYIT 277. Holy Cross* 176. Kent State
180. Stony Brook 95. ETSU or 177. Rider
279. Hampton 129. Wyoming # 82. Loyola Chicago
# - El Paso, Texas 209. UTEP
267. Niagara

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Mid-Atlantic Christian, @Stony Brook) and 5 losses (Kent State, @Loyola Chicago, Niagara, @Hampton, Hampton)

Last season, the Spartans failed to finish at .500 or better for the first time in five seasons under Robert Jones. The primary reason for the decline: a 2-12 start against a non-conference slate that featured five home games. This season’s schedule also features a quintet of contests at Echols Hall, including a three non-D1 matchups and visits from Hampton (who swept the Spartans in conference play last season) and Stony Brook (who Norfolk State defeated in Long Island a year ago). Note that the Seawolves could also feature on day two of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off’s Springfield Bracket in Connecticut. That event is one of two tournaments the Spartans will find themselves in this season, as they’ll face UTEP in the semifinals of the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational for the second time in four seasons. (Norfolk State stunned the Miners back in 2015.)

189. Maryland Eastern Shore Fighting Hawks

*Exempt Event: Wolfpack Classic

True Home Games (4) True Road Games (11)
True Home Games (4) True Road Games (11)
343. Longwood 68. Georgetown
(Non-D1) Central Penn.* 59. N.C. State*
280. Delaware 271. North Texas*
(Non-D1) Chestnut Hill 154. Mercer*
93. St. John's
242. East Carolina
199. Duquesne
109. Pittsburgh
148. Winthrop
320. American
49. Virginia Tech

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (American, Central Penn.) and 3 losses (@Georgetown, @Duquesne, @Virginia Tech)

Clifford Reed, who used to coach Bethune-Cookman, replaces Bobby Collins after the Hawks went 7-25 in his fourth season on the sidelines in Princess Anne. Last year, Maryland Eastern Shore won nearly as many D1 non-conference games (two) as MEAC contests (three). Home games against Delaware and Longwood and a trip to American—who the Hawks defeated at home last season—are UMES’s best chances at toppling Division I opposition before league play rolls arrives this time around.

191. Florida A&M Rattlers

*Exempt Event: Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic (Visitor)

True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (11)
True Home Games (2) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (11)
(Non-D1) Tuskegee 283. Campbell* 310. Jacksonville
(Non-D1) Fort Valley State 341. Central Connecticut State* 285. USF*
208. Loyola Marymount*
241. North Florida
249. South Alabama
144. DePaul
85. Georgia Tech
36. Utah
25. Oregon
251. Portland
104. Memphis

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 0 wins and 2 losses (North Florida, @Georgia Tech)

Robert McCullum, formerly coach at Western Michigan and South Florida, led the Rattlers to nine wins in his first campaign in charge in Tallahassee. However, FAMU went 1-15 in non-conference play, beating only Division II Albany State along the way. With a pair of non-D1 squads on this season’s schedule, the Rattlers should double their non-league win total this season, but with 11 games away from home, including daunting Pac-12 contests against Oregon and Utah, they might not win many more. However, all hope is not lost for A&M, as games in Montego Bay against Campbell and Central Connecticut State could be possible neutral-site wins.

199. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

*Exempt Event: NIT Season Tip-Off (On Campus Only)

True Home Games (6) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (6) True Road Games (8)
(Non-D1) Trinity Baptist* 144. DePaul
(Non-D1) Johnson (Fla.)* 53. Marquette*
217. Omaha 23. Miami (Fla.)
319. Stetson 19. Saint Mary's
278. FAU 292. San Jose State
310. Jacksonville 295. Cal Poly
291. Quinnipiac
236. Boston University

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Johnson (Fla.), @Jacksonville, Cal Poly) and 2 losses (@FAU, Boston University)

Ryan Ridder’s first season in charge in Daytona Beach was a success, with an eight-win improvement over 2017-18 and share of the MEAC regular season title. That conference success followed a rough 5-9 trip through a non-MEAC schedule that was easier than this one will be. And it could have been even worse for the Wildcats, as B-CU will play just one Division I game as part of its participation in the NIT Season Tip-Off—a trip to Marquette.

216. N.C. Central Eagles

*Exempt Event: Emerald Coast Classic (Visitors’ Bracket)

True Home Games (6) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (6) True Road Games (8)
(Non-D1) Trinity Baptist* 144. DePaul
(Non-D1) Johnson (Fla.)* 53. Marquette*
217. Omaha 23. Miami (Fla.)
319. Stetson 19. Saint Mary's
278. FAU 292. San Jose State
310. Jacksonville 295. Cal Poly
291. Quinnipiac
236. Boston University

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (Warren Wilson, Southern, Christendom, McNeese State) and 1 loss (@George Mason)

Thanks to four wins in five days in the MEAC Tournament, LeVelle Moton’s Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and third time in five seasons. But it was not a vintage season for Central, who finished the regular season right at .500, after a 5-8 non-conference start. This slate, highlighted by trips to 2018 NCAA teams Cincinnati and Clemson and A 10 contenders George Mason and Saint Louis, might see the Eagles head into league play with a similar record. Note that NCCU’s lone Division I home game is half of a pre-conference home-and-home series with McNeese State.

295. Howard Bison

*Exempt Event: Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational (Visitors’ Bracket)

True Home Games (5) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (8)
(Non-D1) Washington Adventist 279. Hampton # 344. Arkansas Pine Bluff or 175. UMass*
(Non-D1) Central Penn # - D.C. Sports Complex (Transitional) Cal Baptist* 150. Southern Illinois*
(Non-D1) Regent 222. Little Rock*
320. American 255. Appalachian State
130. Harvard 128. George Washington
232. Fordham
172. Ball State
68. Georgetown

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Central Penn., Washington Adventist) and 3 losses (@Georgetown, @American, Hampton)

For the second season in a row, Kevin Nickelberry’s Bison won 10 games, with one of those coming over a D1 opponent in non-conference play. The best chances for Howard this time around are likely to come at Burr Gym against American (the Bison’s lone D1 non-league win in 2016-17) and on day two of the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational visitors’ bracket at ... Little Rock, where Howard will play either D1 newcomer Cal Baptist or SWAC favorite Arkansas Pine Bluff.

Note that the renewal of the “Real HU” rivalry will take place in the new home of the Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go in Southeast D.C.

296. Delaware State Hornets

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (4) True Road Games (9)
True Home Games (4) True Road Games (9)
(Non-D1) St. Elizabeth 242. East Carolina
178. Penn 140. Grand Canyon
(Non-D1) Calm 304. Loyola (Md.)
195. Jacksonville State 343. Longwood
194. Washington State
74. St. Bonaventure
280. Delaware
163. Weber State
172. Ball State

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 0 wins and 3 losses (@East Carolina, Delaware, @Penn)

Erik Skeeters, an assistant on last year’s UMBC squad, replaces Keith Walker after a 4-28 season that saw the Hornets lose their first 25 games against Division I opposition. This schedule, which sees Delaware State play just one top 75 squad—St. Bonaventure—while skipping an exempt event should give them more chances at victory, but it’s more likely to be another long November and December in Dover.

Be sure to follow @ChrisDobbertean on Twitter and to like Blogging the Bracket on Facebook.