Tournaments at a glance

March 10, 2003

MEAC men

Site: Richmond Coliseum, with early rounds at Arthur Ashe Center, Richmond, Va.

When: Today through Saturday.

2002 champion: Hampton.

2003 favorite: South Carolina State. With a huge late-season win in a showdown at Hampton, the Bulldogs clinched the regular-season crown and Coach of the Year honors for veteran Cy Alexander. They are well-rounded, featuring guard Moses Malone Jr. (17.1 ppg) and hard-working forward Thurman Zimmerman (15.7), a first-team all-MEAC pick.

Dark horse: Florida A&M. Coppin has a major quarterfinal test against the Rattlers, who lead the league in three-point shooting thanks to Terrence Woods and have a solid inside threat in 6-foot-10 Jermaine Hill. Both are all-MEAC choices.

Player to watch: Ron Williamson, Howard. The 6-1 guard averaged a league-best 22.6 points a game and had 52 points against North Carolina A&T, the national high this season.

Outlook: The best local chance appears to be Coppin with its league-leading defense and strong free-throw shooting. By qualifying in the top five, the Eagles will not have to play four games to win the tourney - important for a team which is young, small and not very deep. Morgan has improved over last season and UMES has Tee Trotter, but both teams have a long road after failing to gain a high seed. - Kent Baker

MEAC women

Site: Richmond Coliseum.

When: Today through Saturday.

2002 champion: Norfolk State.

2003 favorite: Hampton. The top-seeded Lady Pirates have a lot of talent and front-court depth which enabled them to outscore opponents by a league-leading 14.9 points per game this season.

Dark horse: Bethune-Cookman. A major 67-61 upset two weeks ago over Hampton was part of a season-ending 5-1 run by the fifth-seeded Lady Wildcats. That stretch drive enabled Bethune-Cookman to reach 10-8 in the league and 15-13 overall.

Player to watch: Kim Watson, Florida A&M. This 6-3 senior center led the league in scoring (20.6), rebounding (10.6) and field-goal percentage (57.9). She was named the MEAC Player of the Year.

Outlook: This figures to be a two-team tournament, with Hampton and second-seeded Delaware State. Sixth-seeded UMES (8-10, 11-16) and eighth-seeded Coppin State (7-11, 10-17) are capable of providing some early surprises. -Bill Free

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