As Norfolk state forward Alex Long puts it, "We're ready to take the next step as far as program greatness."

The Spartans missed their chance at the "Big Dance" last year when they came up short in the MEAC tournament championship game.

NSU will have to replace their leading scorer, Jonathan Wade. Coach Robert Jones says maybe somebody can step up like Wade did last year, or maybe it will be a group effort.

The MEAC media picked the Spartans to finish second in the conference.

The season opener is Friday night at Auburn. The home opener is Monday night against Lynchburg.