Shepherd to qualify for Mountain East tournaments in Wheeling this year
SHEPHERDSTOWN – The 12 teams in the Mountain East Conference won’t be chanting “Charleston” any longer, because both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments have moved to Wheeling.
After years of going to Charleston for at least three rounds of the conference tournament, 10 of the league’s 12 teams will be off to Wheeling along the muddy Ohio River to decide the postseason champions and automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Division II Regional tournaments.
This year’s tournaments will run from March 6, through March 10. On March 6, the No. 7 seed will face the the No. 10 seed, and the No. 8 seed will see the No. 9 seed in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
The first six seeds will automatically move into the quarterfinal round. The women’s quarterfinals will take place on March 7, and the men’s quarterfinals on March 8.
Four games will be held on March 9, when the semifinals will be decided. On March 10, the championship games will take place.
Currently, with each of the 12 schools having about four conference games remaining when the week began on Feb. 18, Glenville and Charleston occupied first and second place in the women’s standings and West Liberty topped the men’s standings with Fairmont and Notre Dame just behind the Hilltoppers.
Shepherd’s women were 11-13 overall and 8-10 in conference games. The Rams will qualify for the Wheeling-based tournament, but likely will need a surprising string of efforts to do any damage. Shepherd might even have to face the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinal round if they can’t better their recent efforts, which have seen them lose four straight games through Feb. 17.
The four remaining games, as of this past Monday, were at West Virginia State, at Charleston, in the Butcher Center against Glenville and at Fairmont, to close out the regular season.
Leading scorer Sydney Clayton has not played in the past two games – both losses.
The Shepherd men were 12-12 overall and 8-10 in the conference, and will also qualify for the postseason tournament by avoiding 11th or 12th place.
The men’s schedule is the same as the women’s, with West Virginia State, Charleston and Fairmont to be played on the road and Glenville seen in the Butcher Center on Feb. 27, which is Senior Night.
Winston Burgess, Derek McKnight and Devin Smith are Shepherd’s three seniors.
The WesBanco Arena in Wheeling that will host the two tournaments seats 5,500 people, with a large portion of the seats having chairback comfort. The arena is the home of the Wheeling Nailers professional hockey team.