Less than two weeks remain before the CIAA Tournament tips off in Baltimore, and it promises to be an exciting finish on the men’s side of the league.
The league will determine seeding for the Baltimore-based tournament will be determined by league records. Heading into this week a total of five of the league’s 12 men’s programs have a realistic shot at getting the top two seeds, which come with a day off between the quarterfinals and the semifinals should those teams advance.
Both Virginia Union and Virginia State head into the stretch run of CIAA North play with 9-3 records in league play, separating themselves from the rest of the pack in that division. VUU is currently 19-5 overall, and a spotless 6-0 in division play with games left against Lincoln, Bowie State, Shaw and Virginia State. VSU is 16-7 overall, but is just 3-3 in CIAA North play. It will match up with Bowie State, Shaw and Elizabeth City State before closing the season with a rematch against Virginia Union, which won the first matchup between the two programs last month.
The CIAA South has an even closer logjam at the top. Heading into the week, Winston-Salem State, Claflin University and Fayetteville State are all 8-4 in conference play.
Winston-Salem State (16-5) holds a slight edge heading into the week with a 5-1 record in division play, while Claflin (17-4) and Fayetteville State (13-11) are both 4-2 with four games remaining. WSSU will face both of its key competitors this week as it hosts Claflin on Thursday before going on the road to face Fayetteville State.
Beyond seeding for the CIAA Tournament, several teams are flirting with a chance to make the Division II NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. The top eight teams in the Atlantic Region will get a bid to the NCAA Tournament, with the PSAC and Mountain East Conferences getting automatic bids along with the CIAA Tournament winner. Virginia Union and Claflin are tied for fifth in the most recent D2SIDA Men’s Basketball Division II Media Poll, while Winston-Salem State is in the eighth spot after spending last week at nine.