There were NCAA Division II tournament selection show watch parties taking place all over the country tonight, in particular in Atlanta as the 2018 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) women’s tournament champions, the Clark Atlanta Lady Panthers, an eighth seed in the South region that will face number one-seeded Union University (Tenn.) in the first round.
There were two other Atlanta-based basketball programs that were also waiting to hear their names called and find out if despite not winning the conference tournament—Claflin University defeated both teams on their way to the 2018 SIAC title—they would get a chance to share in the celebration that is selection Sunday.
Morehouse College is the number one seed in the South Region and will face Florida Southern (20-10) in the first round at 5 pm on Saturday at Forbes Arena. The Maroon Tigers finished the regular season with the number one spot on Division II South poll and with the best overall record in the SIAC at 25-1.
After a first-round bye and an 82-75 win over Fort Valley State University in the second round, the Maroon Tigers lost to the only team that beat them during the regular season, 77-69, to Claflin. The Maroon Tigers didn’t lose a game this season until a road game at Claflin on Jan. 31 and didn’t lose again until the teams met on Friday night.
Head coach Grady Brewer set up a schedule that got the pollsters attention as Morehouse swept their two opponents at the annual CIAA/SIAC Crossover event and also defeated ranked opponents Florida Tech, Rollins College and a strong University of West Georgia Wolves team while dominating the SIAC.
The Clark Atlanta Panthers are back in the big dance for a consecutive season. Winners of the 2017 SIAC tournament, the Panthers were 24-5 overall this season and lost in the conference tournament finals to Claflin, 69-61, after defeating Albany State University and Benedict College in their first two games of the tournament.
Clark Atlanta, a number six seed in the South Region, and head coach Darrell Walker will get another shot at Claflin, the number three seed, in the first round, noon on Saturday at Forbes Arena.
With a 16-3 conference record, the Panthers, who split games with Claflin during the regular season, were the number two seed out of the Eastern Division on the strength of how tough their regular season schedule was.
Not only did Clark Atlanta play the tough SIAC schedule (losing twice to Morehouse) but they also played at Alabama-Huntsville early in the season, arguably on the toughest places to play in Division II men’s basketball.
Now that the invites have been sent, the Atlanta University Center and the SIAC will be well represented in this year’s Division II tournament.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. They can be purchased only at Forbes Arena. Parking will be available across the street from the arena.