March 3, 2010

By Amy Farnum

Augusta State will enter the postseason as the top-ranked Division II men’s basketball team after regaining the No. 1 spot on the merits of a 10-game winning streak to conclude the regular season, coupled with previous No. 1 Arkansas Tech’s first loss of the season last week.

The Jaguars host Armstrong Atlantic State in the quarterfinals of the Peach Belt Conference Championship on March 3 with the winner advancing to the league semifinals on March 6 at USC Aiken.  The Jags have won 28 straight home games entering the contest.

ASU’s first-ever No. 1 ranking came on Jan. 12, also the first time a PBC squad had earned the distinction.  Augusta State has won 25 or more games for three straight years, compiling its best-ever regular season record (25-2) this year.

Midwestern State claimed its second straight outright Lone Star Conference South Division title with a 105-100 overtime victory against Angelo State on Feb. 24 behind senior guard Craig Green’s team-high 27 points.

Green was perfect on six free-throw attempts in overtime as he reached the 20-point mark for the fourth straight game, earning LSC South Offensive Player of the Week honors.  

No. 6 Midwestern State seeks its fifth LSC title in its 10th tournament appearance.  The Mustangs are 14-5 all-time in LSC Tournament play, and have won their last six games in league tournament games, claiming titles in 2007 and 2009. The Mustangs missed the tournament in 2008.  They look to keep the streak alive against Southwestern Oklahoma State in quarterfinal action on March 3.

  No. 10 West Liberty heads into postseason play riding a school-record 20-game winning streak as the Hilltoppers look to add to their first West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season title since 1961 as they begin league tournament play on March 4 against eighth-seeded Seton Hill.

The Hilltoppers, who finished the regular season with a Top 10 ranking for the first time in program history, have not lost since a 117-116 overtime setback to West Virginia State on Dec. 12.  The Yellow Jackets are currently ranked No. 18 nationally.

West Liberty paces the nation in scoring with 104.0 points per game, as well as scoring margin (26.4 ppg), fueled by a Division II-leading 13.2 three-point field goals per game.

  East Stroudsburg University will host the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship for the first time in program history after notching a 76-65 win over Cheyney on March 2 to advance to the league semifinals this weekend.

The victory versus Cheyney was the Warriors’ first postseason win since 1991, and pushed ESU past the single-season school-record victory mark with 24.  ESU will host No. 6 Indiana (Pa.) on March 5 as it tries for its second PSAC title.  The Warriors also won the league trophy in 1989-90, a squad that also made the program’s only NCAA Tournament appearance.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:  The NCAA has granted the Pacific West Conference an extension to complete its men’s and women’s basketball seasons following the tsunami warning for Hawai‘i on Feb. 27 that postponed a pair of doubleheaders.

BYU-Hawaii travels to Hawaii Pacific on March 8 to complete the regular season schedule in a game that impacts the league’s regular season championship and NCAA Tournament automatic berth.
The NCAA Division II men’s and women’s tournament announcements for Division II are scheduled for Sunday, March 7, with conference and teams mandated to complete their seasons by that date. However, the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Feb. 27 made it necessary for the PacWest to request the extension.
All four Hawaii teams are currently on the Mainland completing their regular seasons against PacWest teams, making it impossible to complete the games prior to the selection date.