The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Twists and Turns of A&T’s 2023 men’s basketball season

Jordan Davis//@shotbyjdavis on IG

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) basketball season has ended with a new champion at the top. N.C. A&T, who is also a part of the CAA, did not make it to the end of the tournament, leaving the season with a record of 13-19.

In a game that started out with the Aggies on a 14-0 run, the A&T’s men’s basketball team lost to Stony Brook by a final score of 76-61.

The game determined who would be able to move on in the CAA championship tournament bracket that had more than 10 members of the association fighting for the number one spot.

The CAA championship game ended with the Charleston Cougars winning it all for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Although the Aggies men’s basketball team did not participate in the CAA championship, their season overall was tolerable.

The Aggies showcased their tenacity for improvement and a passion for the sport.

At the start of their season, N.C. A&T men’s basketball team started with a nice win against Edward Waters; many may have hoped these wins would continue. Instead, a consecutive four-game loss followed before the Aggies would pick up another win in the season, against the St. Andrews Knights.

Throughout the whole season, the team shifted too many times — almost gaining just as many wins and losses.

Although the team had quite a bit of disappointing games, they also had some memorable performances throughout the season.

One of those was a very close and packed-out game against Hampton University, an HBCU in Virginia. The game came down to the wire with only one-point making the difference between who won and who lost. N.C. A&T ended on top with a score of 73-72.

The win wasn’t the only highlight, the big crowd capacity was also a great part of attending the game. Many students showed up and showed out with their school pride to support their team. The attendance and participation of college students in N.C. A&T’s basketball games have changed a lot since the team’s move to the CAA.

In 2020, A&T announced that it would be leaving the MEAC for the Big South Conference. Then, in just two years, most A&T sports left the Big South Conference and moved to the CAA .

This move away from the MEAC decreased the participation of students at N.C. A&T greatly, since this meant a move away from official HBCU games and more games against predominantly-white schools. Many students had mixed feelings and reactions about the move away from a familiar conference like the MEAC, which A&T has called home for over 50 years.

Jaydn James, a senior journalism student, was surprised with A&T’s change.

“When A&T first moved away from the MEAC to the Big South, I was shocked because N.C. A&T was a prominent team in the MEAC,” James said. “However, when they switched from [the] Big South to CAA after a year, it really shocked me because [it] happened so fast.”

Participation during the basketball season seemed to decline the most when N.C. A&T men’s basketball team played against a PWI but when it was an HBCU game, the attendance skyrocketed. According to data from ESPN, the Hampton game in February 2023, had about 60% attendance, whereas just the day before, the attendance for the Delaware Blue Hens game, reached only 33%.

Caulin Avery is a sophomore journalism student who loves sports and has been observing the men’s basketball team throughout the season.

“A move away from the MEAC came with less student engagement because students want to see [HBCUs] go against each other and have bragging rights,” Avery said. “And it brings a better atmosphere with two HBCUs facing each other.”

Though the men’s regular basketball season here at N.C. A&T may be over, the team may need to make a few changes in training and prepping for the next season if they wish to take the championship title next year.

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