Play began Monday in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference Tournaments in Norfolk, Va. and on Tuesday at the higher seeded teams’ home courts in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournaments. The SWAC tournament moves to Houston’s Toyota Center for semifinals and finals play on Friday and Saturday. Both conferences will crown champions on Saturday and award their respective automatic berths into the NCAA Div. I Men’s and Women’s Tournaments.
Texas Southern is the men’s top seed and Grambling State emerged as the top ladies seed in the SWAC Tournaments. Only the top eight finishers in the regular season earned berths in the SWAC Tournaments.
Grambling (16-12, 14-4 SWAC) tied for the regular season women’s title with Texas Southern (20-9, 14-4) both with 14-4 conference records. GSU was awarded the top seed by virtue of
the league’s tie-breaking procedure. The teams split two games in the regular season with TSU winning 69-61 and GSU winning 64-52. The point differential gave the tie-breaker to Grambling. Grambling hosted 8th-seeded Mississippi Valley State Tuesday while TSU entertained 7th-seed Prairie View A&M.
Texas Southern (20-11, 16-2 SWAC) won the men’s regular season crown by three games over second-place Alcorn State (16-13, 13-5). TSU hosted 8th-seed Alabama State in Tuesday’s opening round. Alcorn State played at home vs. 7th-seed Mississippi Valley State. men swept the 2016-17 regular season awards.
SWAC scoring leader (17.9 ppg.), junior guard Zach Lofton) was named the player and newcomer of the year. Seven-foot graduate center Marvin Jones, who led the league in blocks (1.5 pg.) and pulled down 6.6 rebounds per game (8th) was named the top defender. Dynamic 5-7 guard Demontrae Jefferson (14.4 ppg., 3.3 apg.) was named the top freshman.
The North Carolina Central men and Bethune-Cookman women are the top seeds in the MEAC Tournaments at the Norfolk (Va.) Scope Arena. The NCCU Eagles (22-8, 13-3 MEAC) were clipped a little, losing their last two conference games in the regular season, after winning 13 straight. They won’t take the court until Wednesday’s first quarterfinal round when they
will play the winner of Tuesday’s opening round game between Delaware State and Bethune-Cookman.
Norfolk State (15-15, 12-4), Morgan State (14-15, 11-5) and Hampton (14-15, 11-5) are seeded second thru fourth and received byes into Wednesday’s and Thursday’s quarterfinals. NCCU senior guard Patrick Cole earned the league’s player of the year award. Cole averaged 19.6 points per game (3rd) and led the league handing out 5.7 assists per game. He also
average 6.9 rebounds (5th).
Bethune-Cookman (19-9, 15-1 MEAC) got the first of three byes for the women and plays Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s Savannah State/Morgan State game. Howard (16-12, 12-4) is seeded second with Hampton (17-12, 11-5) third. Howard 5-5 senior guard Te’shya Heslip’s 15.1 points (3rd), 5.1 assists (1st) and 3.6 steals (1st) per game earned her the league’s player of the year award.