Team: Morgan State Bears
Location: Baltimore, Md.
Conference: Mideastern Athletic
Head coach: Kevin Broadus (second season, 29-24 overall)
2020-2021 record: 14-8 overall, 7-5 MEAC
Top returning players: 6-foot-4, G, Malik Miller (12.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.0 spg); 6-foot-4, G, De’Torrion Ware (17.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 35.8% 3P); 6-foot-8, F, Lagio Grantsaan (10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 38.6% 3P)
Top newcomers: 6-foot-7, F, Myles Douglas (3.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.7 apg), transfer from St. Joe’s; 6-foot-2, G, Seventh Woods (5.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.9 apg), transfer from South Carolina
2020-2021 review: The Bears made it all the way to the MEAC Tournament finals but fell to Norfolk State and missed out on their first NCAA Tournament bid since back to back bids in 2009 and 2010. Morgan State loses 6-foot-9 forward Troy Baxter (15.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg), a high usage player that was first team All-MEAC last season, but still returns a couple of talented all-conference types. Ware led the conference in scoring last season and Miller was MEAC all-defense.
The Bears went 1-4 against Norfolk St. last season and will have to greatly improve that since the Spartans will be battling with them for the conference crown again. Morgan State played a very uptempo style of basketball last season, and will probably continue to do so because they fared far better in year two of Broadus’ tenure than year one.
2021-2022 preview: With Ware and Miller, who is look like he’ll be preseason MEAC Player of the Year, back for another run, the Bears are one of the teams to beat in the conference. The only thing they’re really lacking is size, but players like Miller, who is only 6-foot-4, rebound the ball well and, as a team, they ranked No. 20 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage.
Newcomer Seventh Woods, a former top-100 prospect who has played at UNC and South Carolina, will have a chance to standout with Morgan State as he gets back to full strength after suffering a groin injury last year with the Gamecocks. Myles Douglas will bring some needed help to the front court, but he’s only 6-foot-7, and wasn’t a great rebounder in limited action at St. Joe’s.
The Bears only lost one starter off of last year’s team and added a couple of transfers that should slot right into the rotation. I could definitely see them winning the MEAC this year and getting back to the Tourney.
Game vs. Wisconsin: Thursday, Dec. 23; Madison, Wis.; Kohl Center; BTN; 6:00 p.m. CT