After months of anticipation and with some of the closest races in college basketball this season, the Mercer men’s and women’s basketball teams learned late Saturday whom they will play in the opening round (quarter-finals) of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. The two Mercer teams, for the first time ever, will play in their home facility in the conference tournament as the University Center will be the venue for the championships for the first time.
The Mercer women, seeded number two, will play the University of North Florida Wednesday night at 6:30 in opening round play. Coach Janelle Jones’ team, 14-15 overall and 11-9 in conference play, swept the Lady Ospreys during the regular season, 54-48 and 61-47.
Number one seed East Tennessee State University will host No. 8 Stetson in the opening game Wednesday at noon. In Thursday action, in the quarter-final round, No. 4 Belmont will meet No. 5 Kennesaw State at 12 noon and No. 3 Campbell will face No. 6 Jacksonville at 6:30 p.m.
Should Mercer win its opening round game, the Bears would have the day off Thursday and meet the Campbell-Jacksonville winner in the semi-finals at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The women’s championship game will be played at 12 noon Saturday and aired live on CSS TV.
On the men’s side, coach Bob Hoffman’s team, 14-16 overall and 10-10 in conference play, is the No. 6 seed and will host No. 3 Belmont Thursday at 9 p.m. The Bruins and Bears have played several cliff-hangers the last two seasons with Belmont winning two close games this season, 94-90 in overtime in December and 77-73 last week in Nashville.
Other first round (quarter-final) games scheduled include No. 1 Lipscomb vs. No. 8 Kennesaw State at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and No. 2 Jacksonville meeting No. 7 UNF at 9 p.m. In the other men’s game on Thursday, No. 4 Campbell will meet No. 5 ETSU at 2:30 p.m.
Should the Mercer men get by Belmont, they would play the Jacksonville-UNF winner at 9 p.m. on Friday night in the semi-finals. The men’s championship game will be aired live on ESPN 2 Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
The complete brackets of both men’s and women’s play is available at http://www.atlanticsun.org/mbasketball/championship/15/