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Division II Tournament Roundup
By Tony McClean
Updated: March 11, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — While the MEAC and SWAC play out their tournament dance cards, seven other black college schools among eight men’s and women’s teams will be represented this weekend as part of the first round of the NCAA Division II Basketball Tournament.
On the men’s side, tournament champions Benedict (26-4) of the SIAC and Johnson C. Smith (21-9) of the CIAA were part of four HBCU men’s teams tabbed for the postseason party. Another CIAA school, Virginia Union (22-7) and Cheyney of the PSAC each received at-large bids.
The Wolves (19-9) will be the fifth seed in the East Region and will play fourth seeded Alderson Broaddus College (25-6) on Saturday. The winner will meet of the No. 1 California (Pa.)-No. 8 Queens (N.C.) College winner.
This is the second time in Coach Cleo Hill Jr.’s five years at Cheyney that he is taking a team to the big dance. In 2004, Cheyney was also the fifth seed and defeated California in the first round before falling to Pfeiffer in the second round. A win by the Wolves could set a rematch with the hosts of the regional.
In the PSAC semifinals last week, California defeated Cheyney 66-59. Ironically, this month marks the 30th anniversary of the Wolves’ National Championship. Behind coach John Chaney, Cheyney won the NCAA Division II title over the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay on March 18, 1978.
Benedict, the No. 2 seed in the South Regional, is making its third NCAA appearance in the past five years. The Tigers will face a familiar foe in seventh-seeded Eckerd College (19-9) who defeated them in last year’s opening round.
BC beat back a determined charge from seventh-seed Tuskegee needing overtime to subdue the Maroon Tigers 74-69 to take their third men’s SIAC Tournament title in the last five years in Birmingham last Sunday evening.
The South Regional games will be played on the campus of Florida Southern University in Lakeland. Benedict will play at 12 noon on Saturday. The BC-EC winner will meet the winner of the Tampa-Harding match up.
JCSU and Virginia Union will taking part in the South Atlantic Region to be held on the campus of Augusta State University in Augusta, Ga. The Golden Bulls come in at the No. 7 seed and will take on the host and No. 2 seeded Augusta State Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The JCSU-ASU winner will meet the winner of the Wingate-Catawba match up. ASU won the only regular season meeting between J.C. Smith winning 93-70 back on November 24th.
The Panthers received the No. 4 seed in the South Atlantic Region and will take on No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne College Saturday night at 8:30. The VUU-LRC winner will meet the winner of the Clayton-State-South Carolina Aiken match up.
The eight men’s quarterfinalists will advance to the finals at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, March 26, 27 and 29.
On the ladies side, two teams each from the CIAA and SIAC will be battling in the same regional. In the South, the Tigerettes of Tuskegee (21-8) received the No. 7 seed and will face second seeded Arkansas Tech (25-5) at Walter Sillers Coliseum Friday at 1 p.m.
TU had to withstand two Kentucky State comebacks at the tail end of both halves to win the women’s SIAC Tournament title 59-55 last Sunday afternoon in Birmingham. The TU-AT winner will meet the winner of the Tampa-Valdosta State match up.
As for the Lady Thoroughbreds (19-11), they received the No. 8 seed and will face the top seed and host of the tournament, Delta State University (29-0) Friday at 6 p.m. The KSU-DSU winner will meet the winner of the West Georgia-Nova Southeastern match up.
Meanwhile in the South Atlantic Regional at the campus of Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, Johnson C. Smith (21-9) comes in at the eighth seed and will take on the top seeded Wingate University (23-7) Friday at 1 p.m.
Both teams split during the regular season.
The JCSU-Wingate winner will meet the winner of Shaw vs. Augusta State (19-9) match up which follows them Friday at 3 p.m. The fourth-seeded Lady Bears (21-11) defeated J.C. Smith to win their fifth CIAA crown in the last six seasons.
The regional champions will advance to the NCAA Women’s Elite Eight March 26, 27 and 29 at the Health and Sports Center in Kearney, Nebraska. University of Nebraska at Kearney will host the Elite Eight.