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Previewing the MEAC Final

As an Atlantic 11 voter once asked, what have you done for Marquise Kately?

Getting your soul correct for tonight's all-Baltimore MEAC final between Coppin State and Morgan State. This week, in case you haven't noticed, is turning into a glorious series of victories for the schools of the Atlantic 11. Special correspondent Jarrett Carter of the HBCU Sports Blog and ScottVanPeltStyle reports.

By Jarrett Carter, in Raleigh

The conference's last dance in Raleigh is now set to the tune of Baltimore club beats, as top-seeded Morgan State University and seventh-seeded Coppin State University will meet in the men's basketball championship tonight. Morgan got its ticket by way of a 61-55 win over the 2005 conference champion Delaware State Hornets. Coppin State edged Norfolk State, 67-65 , bringing their average margin of victory through three games in the tournament to 1.3 ppg.

You have to have the background to know the depths of this rivalry that will now play out with an NCAA tournament berth on the line. As a young undergrad, I once snuck into a Morgan-Coppin game at Coppin, and by "snuck" I mean "burst through the side entrance of the gym with 68 other people." There would be no tasering and pepper spraying that night, because even Baltimore City police knew that only twice in an entire year does crime, depression and community malaise all take a back seat to college basketball. Tobacco Road it is not, but bragging rights for North Ave. are nothing to shake a nightstick at.

It's a fitting end to a tremendous tournament. Morgan State, which has lived up to its potential throughout the season, goes to the tournament as the top seed, as most experts predicted. Coppin State, which went on a hot streak in the latter part of the season, is carried them perfectly into the tournament. They were winners of eight of their last nine games prior to heading down to Raleigh. Their only loss? At Morgan State.

These two teams, though tenuous and classic their rivalry may be, are united by one singular mission: gaining respect for black college basketball in the Bog's Atlantic 11 Basketball Poll. Besides, who else are you gonna vote for? Maryland?

A little more wax for the poet in you about this game:

Coppin State was the first MEAC school to win an NCAA tournament game, with its 1997 victory over the second-seeded University of South Carolina.

Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman was the youngest coach to ever reach the Sweet 16, leading the University of California - Berkley to it's appearance in 1993.

Coppin State leads the head-to-head match-up 15-6 over the last ten years.

Morgan State is 2-0 against Coppin State this season.

Neither team has beaten an ACC, Pac-10, or SEC school in the last ten years.

Coppin State had one player on the 2008 all-conference team.

Morgan State had three players on the all-conference team, including two first-team members, who were the conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 15, 2008; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Next: Lunardi on the Atlantic 11


JC, how deep a rivalry are we talking...Charm City's own Duke-UNC? Beyond proximity--and 69 criminal undergrads--what makes it that way? Tell us more...

Posted by: WRG | March 15, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

A Bog posting wouldn't do it justice, so I didn't attempt to do so with my entry. Besides, what more is there to know than two schools separated by less than six miles and an intensity that warranted aggravated and illegal entry?

But seriously, rare is the occasion when Morgan and Coppin are among the high and mighty when it comes to MEAC basketball, as Coppin has had a longer stretch of recent success than has Morgan. They've both had legendary coaches and players throughout history. More than anything, the rivalry is built on the twice-a-year clash of East Baltimore's black college and West Baltimore's black college, with ranking implications usually on the line for one of the teams.

Sorry I couldn't give you more. It was around midnight when I finished writing/drinking.

Posted by: | March 16, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

For more on Baltimore's East-West basketball rivalry, see The Wire, Season One.

Posted by: Bill Fitzgerald | March 16, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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