Sportsball: The Triad college basketball tournament roundup

1
112
Kelila Atkinson surveys the court. (Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics.)

For players and fans around the Triad, the pinnacle of the college basketball season has provided plenty of excitement. Here’s an update on the teams’ fortunes and fates, starting with those still in the fight.

Wake Forest men

After a close loss to Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Deacs went on to finish the ACC regular season with three straight conference wins. On March 5, sophomore John Collins was named first-team All-ACC. He was voted the league’s most improved player and was runner-up for the conference’s Player of the Year award.

If No. 10 seed Wake Forest defeats No. 15 seed Boston College after press time on Tuesday afternoon, they will take on Virginia Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m. In the last game of the regular season, the Deacs defeated Tech 89-84 on the road in Blacksburg, Va.

With a 18-12 record, Wake Forest is a bubble-team for this year’s NCAA Tournament. A couple ACC Tournament wins could book them a ticket to the Big Dance. Regardless of their fate, things are looking up for coach Danny Manning. His team has produced its first winning season, coming off a 11-20 record last year.

High Point University women

The women’s team steamrolled through the end of their season, winning their last four games and 10 out of their last 11. These victories have resulted in a No. 3 seed in the Big South Tournament, in which they take on No. 6 seed Presbyterian in Lynchburg Va. on Friday at 8 p.m. If you tune in to the game on Friday, pay attention to Emma Bockrath, who leads the Panthers in assists and rebounds. Behind Bockrath and leading-scorer Kaylah Keys, the Panthers fight through the Big South Tournament, the winner of which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament later this month.

UNCG men

The Spartans suffered a heartbreaking 79-74 loss to East Tennessee State in the Southern Conference Tournament Finals on Monday. But as the SoCon’s regular season champion, the team has earned an automatic bid to the Men’s National Invitation Tournament 32-team field. The appearance is the Spartans’ first since 2002.

As UNCG battles through the NIT, watch for sophomore Francis Alonso, who doubles as the team captain of Spain’s U20 National Team. Alonso leads the Spartans in points with an impressive .470 3-point percentage on the year.

Wake Forest women

The Wake Forest women took the road down to Conway, South Carolina for the ACC tournament as the No. 9 seed in a 15-team ACC. The Deacs lost to No. 8 seed Virginia, 61-44, in their first game in the tournament. With a 15-15 record on the season, including 6-10 in the ACC, a spot in the NCAA Tournament is improbable.

Last year’s team advanced one round in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, ending the season with a 17-16 record. A similar season this year could likely find the Deacs back in the WNIT, which announces its 64-team field on March 13. The first round begins two days later.

NC A&T women

The No. 7 seed Aggies face NC Central University in the MEAC tournament on Tuesday. If A&T advances, they play No. 2 seed Howard on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Through the Aggies’ tournament run, look out for Aliyah Kilpatrick, who leads the team in scoring.

Guilford College men

In some of the Triad’s most exciting basketball news, the Guilford men and women both won the ODAC conference, the men for the first time since 2010. In the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, the Quakers defeated Thomas Moore, 74-54. But in the tournament’s second round, Guilford’s season came to a close with an 88-64 loss to Marietta.

Guilford College women

Having won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, the Guilford women received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament and hosted an opening round game for the first time since 2002. The Quakers lost to Marymount 74-70 despite a furious comeback, but Guilford ends its season with the second-highest win total in school history.

Greensboro College women

After advancing one round in the USA South Conference Tournament, the Pride fell to Averett University, ending their season with a 16-11 record.

Greensboro College men

The Pride lost to Methodist University in the first round of their conference tournament, but the team ended the season with a winning record at 14-11.

WSSU women

Despite an impressive performance against Virginia Union (23-3) in the quarterfinal round of the CIAA tournament, the Winston-Salem State University Rams’ season ended with a split 14-14 record.

WSSU men

The WSSU met a similar fate, losing to defending champion Virginia State in a quarterfinal game in the CIAA tournament on Feb. 23. The Rams ended the season just under .500 with a 13-14 record.

High Point men

The High Point men’s season ended with a crushing 91-55 defeat at the hands of Gardner-Webb in the Big South Tournament. With the loss, the Panthers slipped under .500, ending their season with a 15-16 record.

UNCG women

The women’s middle-of-the-road season came to an end on March 3 against Chattanooga in the Southern Conference Tournament. Their season ended with a 17-15 record.

Salem College women

The Spirits ended their anemic season 7-18 with a loss in the first round of their conference tournament.

NC A&T men

The NC A&T men lost to Maryland Eastern Shore 74-67 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament. The Aggies’ season ends with a depressing 3-29 record.