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CIAA, SIAC in final week countdown

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LONGEST WIN STREAKS
MEN – Bowie State, Virginia State, Livingstone (2)
WOMEN – Shaw (11), Average Margin 20.2.

The last week of the CIAA regular season is upon us and the races for the top spots in each division of the men’s race are still up for grabs. In the North, four teams – Virginia State, Virginia Union, Bowie State and Chowan – are still alive for the top two spots and the first-round byes into next week’s tournament (Feb. 23 – 27) in Charlotte that go with them.

Virginia State (18-5, 12-2 CIAA, 6-2 N) is up by one game with games left Wednesday at Bowie State and closing out the regular season Saturday at home vs. Lincoln. Bowie State (18-10, 8-5, 4-3 N) is closing fast but has a tough three-game home stretch.

The Bulldogs got wins last week at home over Virginia Union (13-13, 6-8, 5-3) and at Chowan (17-7, 9-4, 3-4), the teams then closest to VSU, and is now is in a virtual tie for second with VUU. BSU had a make-up game rematch with Chowan at home Tuesday, tackles VSU Wednesday before finishing Saturday against Elizabeth City State. VUU, currently second, is at home Wednesday vs. ECSU before finishing on the road Saturday at Chowan. Chowan hosted Lincoln on Wednesday.

The South is much more jumbled with two games separating the six teams. The final spots will not likely be determined until Saturday’s final game is decided. Saint Augustine’s and Johnson C. Smith are tied at the top with 5-3 division records. Shaw and Winston-Salem State are a game back at 4-4. Livingstone and Fayetteville State are another game back at 3-5.

With all having two games left, every decision will be critical. In Wednesday’s games, SAU hosted Livingstone, JCSU hosted WSSU and Shaw hosted FSU. Saturday JCSU hosts Shaw, WSSU hosts Livingstone and FSU hosts SAU. The women’s side is much clearer. Relatively.

At 8-0 in the South, Shaw has clinched the top spot. Four teams – J. C. Smith, Fayetteville State, Winston-Salem State and Livingstone – are all deadlocked at 4-4 in second place and will battle it out this week for second place and the second bye. In the North, Virginia Union and Chowan are 7-1 and have a two-game lead over Lincoln (5-3) with two games left.

SIAC

LONGEST WIN STREAKS
MEN – Stillman (10), Average Margin, 13.7
WOMEN – Kentucky State (9), Average Margin 10.4

In the SIAC men’s race, Benedict (11-5) and Morehouse (9-5) have clinched the top two seeds in the East. Stllman (11-1) has secured the top seed in the West.

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Miles (13-5) and Lane (12-5), who each have one game left, are battling for the second spot in the West. Miles closes out the season Monday hosting Tuskegee while Lane hosts Central State. For the women Benedict (12-2) in the East and Kentucky State (12-2) in the West have clinched the top positions.

Albany State (11-4) and Claflin (10-5) in the East and Miles (8-7) and Spring Hill (7-7) in the West are in a battle for second. Albany State hosts Stillman Thursday and closes the season Saturday at Fort Valley State. Claflin host Clark Atlanta Saturday. Spring Hill closes hosting Central State Thursday. Miles hosts Tuskegee Monday. The SIAC Tournament runs from Feb. 29 thru March 5 in Birmingham, Ala.

SWAC

LONGEST WINNING STREAKS
MEN – Alcorn State (4), Average Margin 7.7
WOMEN – Alabama State (10), Average Margin 18.1

After two wins over the last week, the Texas Southern men (11-1) maintained a two game lead over Southern (10-3) and Alcorn State (10-3) with three weeks left in the regular season.

For the women however, a loss to Grambling State Monday (49-46), knocked Texas Southern (10-2) into a first-place tie with Alabama State (10-2), currently on a 10-game win streak. Southern is a half-game back at 10-3. The TSU men are on the road at Miss. Valley State Saturday and at Arkansas-Pine Bluff Monday. Southern has a big date on the women’s ledger at Alabama State Saturday.

MEAC

LONGEST WIN STREAKS
MEN – Norfolk State (3), Average margin 6.3
WOMEN – NC A&T (4), Average margin 25.7

Hampton is narrowly on top of both the men’s (10-2) and women’s (9-2) MEAC races. The real drama and jockeying in both races is for fifth place and the final first-round bye into the respective March 7-12 tournaments.

For the men, Norfolk State (9-2), South Carolina State (9-3) and Bethune-Cookman hold down the No. 2 thru No. 4 spots currently. Four teams have six losses and two more have seven losses in conference play. Regular season play ends in the MEAC on March 3. For the women, Bethune-Cookman, Morgan State and N. C. A&T line up behind Hampton with 9-3 records. Florida A&M (7-4) is currently ahead of three others with six conference losses.

Hampton is off Saturday but plays at Delaware State Monday. NC A&T is also off Saturday but has a key women’s game against Morgan State on Monday. Norfolk State is at Delaware State Saturday and is home to host Coppin State Monday.

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