North Carolina Central Men's Basketball 2015 NIT Tournament Capsule

North Carolina Central Eagles
MEAC (25-7, 16-0)


North Carolina Central has turned into the team to beat in the MEAC. After reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2014, where they earned a 14 seed and lost to Iowa State 93-75, the expectations were high heading into the 2014-2015 campaign. The loss of starting forward Jay Copeland to a knee injury prior to the start of the season was a setback, but the Eagles did not miss a beat and once again absolutely dominated the conference.

Big Wins: 11/28 vs Eastern Illinois (65-40), 11/29 vs Northern Arizona (40-36), 1/17 at Norfolk State (60-56)
Bad Losses: 11/23 at Creighton (45-65), 12/15 at Memphis (47-81), 1/31 at East Tennessee State (59-61)
Coach: LeVelle Moton

Why They Can Surprise:
By the numbers, NCCU is one of the best defensive teams in the country. They rank fifth in scoring defense, second in field-goal percentage defense and second in three-point field-goal defense. Allowing the opposition to score just 54.3 points per game and shoot 27.4 percent from beyond the arc is impressive no matter what conference you play in. Coach LeVelle Moton has built something special in Durham and it is built around point guard Nimrod Hilliard and forward Jordan Parks. Hilliard dishes out 6.4 assists per game and adds 11.8 points. Hilliard starts the offense, but it is often Parks that finishes. The 6-7 forward is an amazingly efficient scorer in the paint and averages 15.3 points per game. He is also a fine rebounder and leads the team in that department. This is a good team on the glass and Karamo Jawara is a very good complimentary forward to Parks on the glass.

Why They Can Disappoint:
There may be a lot of talent in the starting five, but there is not much depth for Coach Moton to work with this season. Jeremiah Ingram is pretty much the only major player off of the bench. The good news is Ingram is a versatile 6-7 guard, so he can plug in at multiple positions, yet foul trouble has been an issue and will continue to be an issue. If Parks or Jawara have to come out, this is suddenly a small team or an inexperienced team. NCCU has had an opportunity to play some good teams back in the first month of the season, but most of those contests did not go well. They lost at North Carolina, Creighton, Cincinnati, Maryland and Memphis. The average margin of defeat in those games was nearly 18 points.

Probable Starters:
Nimrod Hilliard, Senior, Guard, 11.8 ppg, 6.4 apg
Anthony McDonald, Senior, Guard, 13.1 ppg
Dante Holmes, Junior, Guard, 10.5 ppg, 2.4 apg, 4.7 rpg
Karamo Jawara, Senior, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Jordan Parks, Senior, Forward, 15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Enoch Hood, Junior, Forward, 1.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Jeremiah Ingram, Junior, Guard, 4.7 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.6 (144th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 54.7 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.4 (14, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.7 (2, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (145, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (90, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (214, 6)
Rebound Margin: 3.9 (57, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (73, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (189, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NCAA    Second Round loss to Iowa State

*all team stats through 3/8


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