Written by Thomas Scott
March 14, 2018
Tonight marks the first meeting between Texas Southern and North Carolina Central in either school’s history. Both teams are #16 seeds and will compete in Dayton, Ohio as one of the NCAA Tournament “First Four” matchups. The winner of tonight’s game will travel to Nashville on Friday to face #1 seed Xavier.
Don’t let the #16 seed status fool you, both Texas Southern and North Carolina Central have some extremely talented players. Both squads overcame early season adversity to repeat as conference champions. This matchup also pits two of the best HBCU coaches (Mike Davis, TXSO & Levelle Moton, NCCU) in the nation against one another.
For those who haven’t been following these teams, here are the BlackBall Sports Top Four Player to Watch:
- Demontrae Jefferson, Guard, Texas Southern- Demontrae may only be listed at 5’7, 150 pounds, but he is a walking BUCKET. Jefferson came to Texas Southern a scorer, but has greatly increased his shooting efficiency this season. On the year Jefferson is averaging 23.4 points per game, nearly a ten point increase in production from last season. Check out his Ball is Life high school highlight video which currently has over 3 million views:
- Reggie Gardner Jr., Guard/Forward, North Carolina Central– Coach Moton is usually hesitant to give freshman players big minutes; however due to injury Moton was forced to rely on his talented freshman. Gardner has responded well and is a big reason the Eagles advanced through the MEAC tournament. Gardner is a streaky shooter who is capable of scoring in bunches.
- Trayvon Reed, Center, Texas Southern- On most occasions, Reed is literally the biggest man on the court. At 7’2, 240 pounds Reed is a nightmare matchup for most coaches. The big man gets plenty of high percentage looks in the paint and is shooting 67.5% from the field. His offensive numbers are impressive, but his impact might be most felt on the defensive end. Reed is currently averaging three blocks per game and responsible for countless altered shots.
- Raasean Davis, Center, North Carolina Central– Davis has been an anchor for this young NCCU Eagles squad. Raasean’s production is a key part of the Eagles success. This season Davis led the Eagles in both scoring and rebounding (15.0 PPG & 8.0 RPG). Look for Davis to set the tone early in this First Four matchup.