Previewing conference tournaments that begin Monday
First-round at campus sites of higher seed, all other games in Cleveland
Favorite: Ohio. The Bobcats would not be favored if Akron point guard Alex Abreu hadn’t been arrested for buying marijuana and suspended. Now the Bobcats are the favorite behind All-Sully point guard D.J. Cooper
Contenders: Akron, Kent State. Seven-foot center Zeke Marshall can still carry the Zips. Kent benefits from being in the same bracket and facing a depleted Akron squad.
Long shot: Buffalo. The defensive-mind Bison beat Akron when Abreu was still playing and were competitive against Ohio and Kent.
All games in Norfolk, Va.
Favorite: Norfolk State. The Spartans beat Missouri in the NCAAs last season, a rare win for a 15th seed. The team’s best player, Kyle O’Quinn, graduated, but the Spartans blitzed through the MEAC regular season without a loss. The tournament’s not on their home court, but obviously in their home town.
Contenders: North Carolina Central, Hampton. NC Central had only one loss in the league.
Long shot: Coppin State. Fang Mitchell, Coppin’s coach, has pulled off upsets in the past.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell