By Spencer Impellizzeri @Spence_I on March 17, 2014
The North Carolina Central Eagles enter the NCAA tournament as a No. 14 seed out of the MEAC, but don't let the low seed fool you. The Eagles are a very dangerous team, something their 28-5 record indicates. Winners of 20 straight, North Carolina Central enters the tournament on fire and should be a team to watch. They will try and follow in the footsteps of the Norfolk State team that upset No. 2 seed Missouri back in the 2012 tournament.
Not many No. 14 seeds have a win over an ACC team that is in the NCAA tournament, but North Carolina Central does. The Eagles beat NC State by 10 earlier this season and also played close games with fellow NCAA tournament members Cincinnati and Wichita State. With those wins, North Carolina Central has shown that they can hang with the big boys.
North Carolina Central does a very good job taking care of the ball, led by the efforts of point guard Emanuel Chapman. Chapman averages 6.5 assists per game while only turning the ball over an average of 2.5 times a game for an assist to turnover ratio of 2.6. Forward Karamo Jawara boasts an even better ratio of 2.8. Limiting mistakes will be key for the Eagles if they are to pull off an upset, and they look to be in good shape.
North Carolina Central plays great team defense, and it will need to continue to do that to have a shot at an upset. The Eagles hold teams to 58.5 points per game, while holding opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor and under 30 percent from behind the 3-point line.
North Carolina Central is in the position it is because of the work that coach LeVelle Moton has done at the helm. A former player for the Eagles, Moton has taken the program to new heights since it moved up to Division 1, leading the Eagles to their first NCAA tournament berth this season. Moton has this team firing on all cylinders, and his coaching will be key if the Eagles are to pull off an upset.
Jeremy Ingram is the key to North Carolina Central's chances in the tournament. The senior averages over 20 points per game and can catch fire in a hurry. He has had some of his best games against the best competition, scoring 27 against Cincinnati, 29 against NC State and 36 against Wichita State. If Ingram can have some big games, North Carolina Central could pull off an upset or two.
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