Team preview: Morgan State

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 5:15 PM ET
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The city of Baltimore could soon have two winning MEAC teams.

Coppin State has long been one of the top teams in the MEAC, and last year the Eagles returned to the league championship game before falling to Florida A&M.

Coppin's MEAC neighbor in Baltimore is Morgan State, and the Bears' program has suffered mightily in the Eagles' shadow. While Coppin State has gone to the NCAA Tournament and battled for league titles, Morgan State hasn't come close to either.

That could be changing. Under Butch Beard, the program has made progress since he came to Morgan State three years ago. Beard was voted as the MEAC's Coach of the Year last season as he directed Morgan State to an 11-16 overall record and 9-9 league mark.

The Bears finished in seventh place, but were just two games out of third place. They just missed going to the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament when they lost to Coppin State in double-overtime. The Eagles had to hit a three-pointer late in regulation just to send the game to overtime.

Not bad for a program that hasn't been in double figures in victories in five years. And Morgan State hopes to take the next step this year and have a winning season.