2023 CIAA Brackets are set

The tournament is back in the Charm City and begins Tuesday.

Courtesy: CIAA

BALTIMORE, MD (February 19, 2023) – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference, announces the brackets for its 2023 Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament. The single-elimination tournament will be held in CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD on February 21-25. Championship games will tip-off at 1:00 p.m. for the men followed by the women at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 25. Each bracket is seeded 1 through 12 based on conference winning percentage.  

Fayetteville State University, under the guidance of Head Women’s Basketball Coach Serena King-Coleman, clinched the Southern Division and the top overall seed in the tournament after finishing the regular season with a 14-2 conference record. The last time the Broncos were the top team entering the tournament was in 2019-20 when they won the conference championship. Since taking over as head coach in 2016, King-Coleman has guided Fayetteville State to four division titles in six seasons.

Defending champs top the North again

Lincoln (PA) University earned the women’s Northern Division crown earlier last week with a 55-52 win over Elizabeth City State Wednesday. Head coach Janice Washington and the No. 2 seed Lions will be looking to defend their conference championship after finishing the regular season with a 12-4 mark in conference action. Winston-Salem State University earned the No. 3 seed, followed by No. 4 seed Bowie State University. The top four seeds will each have a bye in the opening round. The Bulldogs’ season sweep of No. 5 seed Elizabeth City State looms large as Bowie State finished a game ahead of the Vikings in the standings. As a reminder, the conference’s tiebreaker for seeding is as follows: head-to-head competition, head-to-head point differential, divisional winning percentage, and a coin toss.

Set to play in Tuesday’s opening round of the tournament, Elizabeth City State University receives the No. 5 seed, followed by No. 6 Shaw University, No. 7 Virginia State University, and No. 8 Johnson C. Smith University. No. 9 Virginia Union University sits ahead of No. 10 Livingstone College due to the Panthers winning the season’s matchup, 75-71, in overtime. Claflin University and Saint Augustine’s are the No. 11 and 12 seeds, respectively.

2023 CIAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

Women tip-off Tuesday morning

The women will tip-off the 2023 CIAA Basketball Tournament Tuesday, February 21 at 10:00 a.m. with Shaw and Claflin playing in the opening round. The other women’s contests on Tuesday include Johnson C. Smith and Virginia Union at 12:10 p.m., Elizabeth City State and St. Augustine’s at 2:20 p.m., and Virginia State and Livingstone at 4:30 p.m. Fayetteville State will await the winner of Johnson C. Smith versus Virginia Union in Wednesday’s quarterfinals for a 2:20 p.m. tip-off time. Lincoln (PA) is slotted for a 4:30 p.m. Wednesday quarterfinals against either the Trojans or the Blue Bears. Thursday’s quarterfinals will be featuring Bowie State playing the winner of the Vikings and Falcons game at 2:00 p.m. and the victor of the Shaw-Claflin game playing Winston-Salem State at 12:00 p.m.

VUU tops men’s CIAA Field

In the men’s field, Virginia Union solidified the top seed in the tournament following Saturday’s 87-69 win over Virginia State. Led by head coach Jay Butler, Panthers finished the regular season with a 12-4 record in CIAA action and earned their second consecutive Northern Division title. Last season, as a No. 2 seed, Virginia Union advanced to the conference championship, before losing to Fayetteville State, 65-62.

The defending champion Broncos obtained a Southern Division title for a second straight season by finishing with a conference record of 11-5. Fayetteville State, under the leadership of Luke D’Alessio, actually clinched the division earlier on Wednesday with a win against Claflin, 71-61. Claflin finished the regular season as the No. 4 seed, behind No. 3 seed Virginia State. Both teams finished with the same conference record (10-6) but the Trojans held the tiebreaker by virtue of a 74-68 win over the Panthers on December 19. Each team will receive a bye in the opening round as a result of being a top-four seed.

Tough split between four and five seed

Winston-Salem State is probably lamenting its two losses to Claflin as those games are the difference between the No. 4 seed and a bye and the No. 5 seed and playing in the opening round of the tournament. The No. 6 seed is Shaw, who sits above No. 7 Lincoln (PA), thanks to the Bears earning a season sweep of the Lions. At No. 8 is Livingstone, followed by Elizabeth City State, Bowie State, Johnson C. Smith, and St. Augustine’s. The Bulldogs, Golden Bulls, and Falcons are all tied at 5-11 in conference play, however, Johnson C. Smith owns the tiebreaker over St. Augustine’s due to head-to-head point differential and Bowie State holds the edge over the Golden Bulls, thanks to a head-to-head win on December 17.

CIAA Men’s Tournament Bracket

CIAA action begins Tuesday

The first men’s game of the 2023 CIAA Basketball Tournament will be Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. with Bowie State taking on Shaw. The other men’s contest that will be played on Tuesday is Livingstone versus Elizabeth City State at 8:50 p.m. The opening round continues on Wednesday with Lincoln (PA) and Johnson C. Smith playing at 10 a.m. and Winston-Salem State and St. Augustine’s playing at 12:30 p.m. In the quarterfinals, the winner of Livingstone/Elizabeth City State advances to face Virginia Union Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. and Fayetteville State awaits the winner of Bowie State and Shaw for an 8:50 p.m. Wednesday tipoff time. Men’s quarterfinal action will continue Thursday with Virginia State facing either Lincoln (PA) or Johnson C. Smith at 6:00 p.m. and Claflin playing either Winston-Salem State or St. Augustine’s at 8:00 p.m.

All 22 games will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN+ ( with the championship games also being shown on ESPNU.

2023 CIAA Brackets are set
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