Norfolk State vs. Coppin State Odds, Picks: Your MEAC Championship Betting Guide (Saturday, March 12)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images/ Pictured: The Norfolk State Spartans.
- The Norfolk State Spartans take on the Coppin State Eagles in Saturday's MEAC Tournament Championship.
- The Spartans enter as moderate favorites, according to updated odds.
- Check out Patrick Strollo's full betting breakdown and pick below.
Norfolk State vs. Coppin State Odds
|Norfolk State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Coppin State Odds|
-110o / -110u
No. 1 seed Norfolk State and No. 7 seed Coppin State tip off in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday.
The game will be played in Norfolk, Virginia, which is an inherent advantage for Norfolk State, especially given the quick turnaround from yesterday.
The Spartans are looking to repeat as MEAC champions after winning last year’s tournament and earning an auto-bid into the Big Dance. The Eagles, meanwhile, are in the MEAC Championship for the first time since they won the tournament in 2008.
This will be the third time the two schools have met this season after Norfolk State won both contests.
On Jan. 22, Norfolk State beat Coppin State at home, 84-77. The Spartans pushed that matchup as seven-point favorites. A month later on Feb. 19, the Spartans beat the Eagles at home in beatdown fashion, 89-59. The Spartans easily covered the three points they laid in Baltimore.
Norfolk State struggled in the opening round against Delaware State but bounced back to handle Morgan State in the semifinals.
The Spartans are led by MEAC Player of the Year and last year’s MEAC Tournament MVP, Joe Bryant Jr. Bryant, a senior guard, led the Spartans in points (16.8), assists (3.3) and steals (1.5) this season.
Jalen Hawkins, a senior guard, has been having an outstanding tournament for the Spartans. Hawkins leads the team in scoring this postseason, averaging 18 points a game. Forwards Kris Bankston and Dana Tate anchor the frontcourt by averaging 14 points per game apiece.
The Spartans boast the top offense in the MEAC and rank 185th in the nation with an AdjO of 103.2 points per 100 possessions. Defensively, Norfolk State is also the top-ranked team in the MEAC in AdjD, allowing 102.7 points per 100.
Coppin State could not have had a tougher path to the conference championship game, as it had to defeat No. 2 seed Howard and No. 3 seed North Carolina Central en route to a matchup with the No. 1 seed.
The Eagles are led by redshirt freshman Nendah Tarke, who earned first-team All-MEAC honors and a spot on the All-MEAC Defensive Team.
Guards Kyle Cardaci and Jesse Zarzuela have been excellent in tournament play as well. Cardaci scored 15 in the quarterfinals, while Zarzuela dropped 27 in the semis.
The trio of Tarke, Cardaci and Zarzuela has been good this postseason, but the Coppin State offense still ranks just sixth in the MEAC and 341st nationally in AdjO, scoring only 92.8 points per 100 possessions.
Defense has been the Eagles’ strong suit this season. They rank 41st in the nation in defensive turnover ratio, forcing turnovers on 21% of plays. Coppin State owns an AdjD of 104.9, which ranks third in the MEAC and 202nd nationally.
The Eagles defense will have their hands full as they defend against a plethora of weapons on the opposite side of the ball.
Norfolk State vs. Coppin State Betting Pick
Norfolk State is the superior team, and it entered the tournament as -250 favorites to earn the MEAC auto-bid. Coppin State has exceeded all expectations after going 7-22 during the regular season and entering the tournament as +2000 longshots to win the tournament.
After getting through the two- and three-seeds, this is where the feel-good story for Coppin State ends.
The Norfolk State offense will prove to be too much for Coppin State because of its veteran leadership and a 10.5-point advantage in AdjO.
I’m handicapping both defenses as equally capable, but the matchup favors the Norfolk State defense given Coppin State’s offensive struggles this season.
I’m projecting Norfolk State as 10.01-point favorites. Lay the points in what is an effectively home game for the Spartans on a very quick turnaround.