03/06/06 — MOC gets regional bid

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MOC gets regional bid

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on March 6, 2006 2:15 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- It's showtime!

The Mount Olive College men's basketball team learned late Sunday evening that it will get the chance to defend its NCAA Division II East Regional crown. The Trojans (24-6) drew the No. 5 seed and oppose fourth-seeded Shippensburg (Pa.) University this Saturday at Barton College.

A tipoff time has not been announced.

Shippensburg earned its first playoff bid since 1991 and fourth overall.

"We're pleasantly surprised for the seeding," said veteran MOC coach Bill Clingan, whose team is making its third consecutive postseason appearance. "I thought we were good enough to be there. It's a big tribute to this year's basketball team and coaching staff.

"They've done a remarkable job."

Clingan speculated that the Trojans' strength of schedule and a trip to the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament final helped seal his team's bid to the playoffs. Mount Olive climbed to as high as No. 4 and dropped to as low as No. 7 in the regional rankings throughout conference play.

Barton drew the No. 1 seed and faces eighth-seeded Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.). The Bulldogs, ranked No. 12 in the NABC Division II poll, could face the Trojans for a fourth time this season in the semifinals on Sunday if both win their first game.

"With the nucleus we had from last year and four starters back, I knew we would be all right," said MOC senior guard and Goldsboro native Victor Young. "We'll take that fifth spot and roll with it. It's going to be a tough region and I'm glad we're playing close to home, so we can get some of our crowd to come down."

Alderson-Broaddus drew the No. 3 seed and faces West Virginia rival Salem International, which is seeded sixth. The remaining quarterfinal-round contest pits seventh-seeded Edinboro (Pa.) University against second-seeded West Virginia State. Edinboro entered the weekend ranked 10th in the region and captured the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference's automatic bid.

The NCAA Selection Committee awarded 22 automatic and 42 at-large bids to be dispersed among eight regions nationally. Defending national champion Virginia Union is the top seed in the South Atlantic Region.

Also receiving No. 1 seeds were Delta State (South), Seattle Pacific (West), St. Joseph's (Great Lakes), Winona State (North Central), Stonehill (Northeast) and Southwest Baptist (South Central).

The regional champions will advance to the Elite Eight, which is scheduled March 23-25 at Springfield, Mass. The championship game is slated for 1 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.

"We're ready to start season number two," said MOC assistant coach

Joey Higginbotham. "This regional this year, you can throw the seedings out the door. I think anybody can win it because they're all strong teams.

"We're happy for the opportunity and it's a great accomplishment for our guys."

Notes: CVAC teams are a combined 25-25 in 24 regional appearances since the league's inception in 1995-96. ... Belmont Abbey and Queens have the most appearances (5) and Queens has the league's lone win in the Elite Eight. ... The NCAA sponsors 88 national championships in 23 sports on the Division I, II and III levels combined.