The bad news for Mercer’s women’s basketball team Monday was a home loss to USC Upstate. The good news was that the Bears officially qualified for the A-Sun tournament in the process.
Lipscomb’s loss to Jacksonville on Monday night dropped the Bisons to 2-13 with five conference games left, meaning they can’t catch the 8-6 Bears.
It wasn’t exactly unexpected news that the Bears would make it to the tournament they’re hosting, since they’ve been in the top third of the conference all season.
Eight teams in the 11-team conference make it to the tournaments. Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate are still ineligible as they continue their transition from Division II.
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So one team gets left out.
Belmont (7-8) and Jacksonville (6-8) are next in line to qualify, while Lipscomb is chasing Kennesaw State and North Florida, both 4-10.
Mercer’s men may officially qualify today while in Buies Creek, N.C., for Friday night’s game against Campbell.
The Bears are 8-6 and Stetson is 3-12. If Stetson loses tonight to North Florida, which is trying improve its seed and get closer to a winning season, then the Bears are in, with Kennesaw State and North Florida not far from joining them.
Mercer isn’t likely to pick up any ground tonight, with co-leaders Belmont off and Lipscomb at four-win USC Upstate, which will try to recover from a 33-point turnaround in its 83-69 loss Monday to Mercer after leading by 19.
Campbell, Jacksonville and ETSU are next at 9-5. Jacksonville hosts 4-17 and tournament-ineligible Florida Gulf Coast tonight. ETSU hosts scrappy Kennesaw State, which swept Mercer, in Friday’s CSS game of the week.
n The conference announced its redesigned Web site on Friday, a few days after unveiling it.
It retains the same address — www.thesiac.com — but was redesigned with Internet Consulting Services and is still a work in progress.
There is still no archiving of previous season information or statistics, but the site does contain more video and social media links.
Miles men’s head basketball coach Christopher Giles is the latest conference coach to be dumped at the start of or in the middle of the season.
Interim athletics director Chico Caldwell fired Giles on Monday. Giles was 14-81 at Miles, which is 3-17 overall and 3-14 in the SIAC, last in the conference.
n Two SIAC football players were named to the 22nd annual Football Gazette All-America team recently.
Stillman defensive lineman Junior Galette was a second-team pick and Tuskegee defensive back Justin Hannah made the third team.
Honorable mentions from the SIAC included Morehouse kicker/punter Ian Mullin, Clark Atlanta linebacker Zimier McCloud, Tuskegee defensive lineman Brandon Anderson, Stillman running back Quinn Porter, Benedict defensive back Marquez Gibson and Albany State defensive back Mario Fuller.
Around GCSU/Peach Belt
n Despite an 0-3 start, Georgia College & State’s baseball team is still getting some votes in the first regular-season Collegiate Baseball poll.
The Bobcats got 11 votes, as did Peach Belt rivals USC Aiken, North Georgia and Columbus State. Francis Marion is No. 8 and UNC Pembroke No. 28.
The Bobcats try again for their first win on Friday against Washington Adventist in Lander’s tournament.
n GCSU softball games will be available in the Milledgeville area on the campus radio station, WGUR-FM 88.9, and at www.gcsuradio.com.
n The Christenberry Fieldhouse in Augusta will host one of the top Division II men’s basketball showdowns of the season tonight.
And GCSU is doing its part to help the Bobcats cause. The school’s Campus Activities Board and Thunder Crew are sponsoring a bus to take students to the game for free.
That’s more than a bargain to watch No. 7 Augusta State and No. 14 GCSU, leaders of the Peach Belt’s East and West Divisions, respectively, tangle.
The Jaguars are 20-2 overall and 12-1 in the Peach Belt while the Bobcats have won 11 straight to improve to 18-2 and 11-0.
Augusta State is back in the national top 10 of the National Association of Basketball Coaches poll after earlier being No, 1. ASU and GCSU are 1-2 in the Southeast Region.
A record crowd of 3,718 watched Augusta State beat nearby rival USC Aiken on Feb. 3.
The game also features two quite successful head coaches. Dip Metress is 135-45 in his sixth season at ASU and Terry Sellers is 295-180 in his 17th season at GCSU.