Regular-season MEAC men’s basketball champion Bethune-Cookman has a couple of things working in its favor, going into the postseason: A strong sense of interconnectivity, and a tough-minded attitude about playing on the road.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Bethune-Cookman, fresh off its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title since joining the league, has a close-knit bond. After all, the Wildcats now boast the first-ever father-son duo to win All-MEAC top honors during the same season: Clifford Reed Jr. took the MEAC coach of the year honors while his son, C.J. Reed, was named conference player of the year. Reed Jr. averaged a league-best 19.5 points per game as his dad’s Bethune-Cookman team earned a third consecutive winning season, and 13 conference wins — another school record at Division I.
[Here’s the complete MEAC men’s basketball tournament bracket.]
“The journey’s just beginning, but congratulations to the players,” Coach Reed said, after the Wildcats claimed the MEAC regular-season title with a last-season overtime win over Florida A&M last week. “They’ve been extremely resilient all year. We’ve been very blessed to play this game and play it well.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are guaranteed at least a berth in the NIT, regardless of how they fare in the MEAC tournament. And playing away from the friendly confines has posed few problems: 11 of Bethune-Cookman’s regular-season wins came away from Moore Gymnasium — including nine on the road and two at neutral sites. (They claimed nine wins at Moore, too.)