ROCK HILL, SC. Ė The Lenoir-Rhyne College men, who won the South Atlantic Conference regular-season title for the third time in four years, and the Wingate University women, who won the regular-season title for the third year in a row, are the top seeds for the 2006 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Basketball Tournament, which begins Wednesday.
The Bears clinched the top seed with an 11-3 conference record. The Bears, 17-9 overall, will open the tournament at home against eighth seed Mars Hill (3-11 SAC, 9-18 overall) at 7 p.m.
Presbyterian and Catawba tied for second in the menís final standings with 10-4 records. Presbyterian (22-8) earned the second seed on the tiebreaker. Both teams split against each other, and split with No. 1 Lenoir-Rhyne. The Blue Hose won one game against fourth-seed Wingate, while Catawba was swept by Wingate.
Presbyterian will face seventh-seed Carson-Newman (4-10, 10-16) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Carson-Newman and Tusculum tied for sixth place, with Tusculum winning the tiebreaker by sweeping Wingate, while Carson-Newman lost both games against Wingate.
Catawba (10-4, 22-7) will host Tusculum (4-10, 13-14) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
The final pairing for the menís bracket will be fourth seed Wingate (8-6, 15-12) hosting fifth seed Newberry (6-8, 12-14) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
In the womenís bracket, Wingate claimed the regular-season title and top seed with a 13-1 conference record. The Bulldogs (22-5 overall) will host eighth-seed Presbyterian Wednesday at 6 p.m. Presbyterian (10-4, 21-6) is the eighth seed due to playing an ineligible player in the first 11 conference games.
Carson-Newman and Tusculum tied with 7-7 conference records. Carson-Newman (15-12) earned the second seed by sweeping Tusculum in their two regular-season meetings.
Carson-Newman will host seventh-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne (3-11, 10-17) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Tusculum (7-7, 16-9) is the third seed and will host sixth-seed Catawba (4-10, 9-18) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Newberry and Mars Hill tied with 6-8 conference records. Mars Hill earned the fourth seed and final home-court advantage by sweeping the regular-season series. The two teams, who met in Saturdayís regular-season finale, will meet again Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Mars Hill.
Tickets for all tournament games are $6 per day for adults, $3 per day for children, students and college students with ID.
The menís and womenís winners of the tournament will earn automatic bids to the NCAA Division II playoffs.