Team preview: Norfolk State

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

Updated: October 20, 2004, 5:16 PM ET
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Another program that has begun to stabilize in the MEAC is Norfolk State, thanks to the efforts of coac Dwight Freeman.

The former Marshall head coach has made the most of his second head-coaching job.

The Spartans have overachieved the last two seasons under Freeman, including last year's 12-17 overall record but more than respectable 10-8 MEAC mark.

Forget the overall record as Norfolk State had a brutal non-conference schedule. That's two straight years the Spartans have finished above .500 in league play under Freeman.

Freeman inherited a program that had just gone Division I and went through three coaches in five years. He has Norfolk State moving in the right direction.

Can the progress continue this year? There's an excellent chance it can. The Spartans return three starters and have an impressive recruiting class coming to play this season.

Norfolk State has some real depth for the first time since going Division I seven years ago. The Spartans have six players back from last season plus six newcomers. "The strength of our team could be our depth this year,'' Freeman said. "But our weakness could be our youth and adding six new guys into the system and having them pick everything up.''