[header photo by Smith Hardy]
One of the most beautiful aspects of the NCAA Tournament is that every Division I conference is guaranteed one bid. This means that every school–except for those in the Ivy League, which historically awarded its bid to the regular season league champion and this year will hold a 4-team tournament–has at least a theoretical shot at winning not only their conference tournament, but the NCAA title. That’s why the Madness truly lasts throughout March (and even start today, in February!), and why the Cinderella stories begin in places like Asheville.
Not only is North Carolina home to Tobacco Road and the heart of the ACC, it is dotted with numerous colleges and universities that compete in a variety of D-I conferences. Some schools have storied basketball traditions, many have made the NCAAs at least once. And this year, with possibly 3 NC teams from the ACC getting invites and four teams from NC getting #1 seeds in their respective conference tournaments, it’s quite possible our state will once again have multiple rooting interest when the Big Dance starts in mid-March.
Here’s the outlook for NC teams playing in conference tournaments that open this week:
COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
March 3-6, 2017
North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, SC
All games on CBS Sports Network. Full bracket here
- UNCW: #1 seed, opening game is Saturday March 4 at noon in quarterfinals against winner of #8 Hofstra/#9 Delaware
- Elon: #5 seed, opening game is Saturday March 4 at 2:30 in quarterfinals against #4 seed William & Mary
(note: should UNCW and Elon both win they would meet in semifinals on Sunday March 5 at 2pm)
The championship game is Monday, March 6 at 7 PM
BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE
Feb 28 – March 5
Opening games play at highest seed. Quarterfinals and Semifinals to be played at Winthrop (highest seed in tourney). Finals will be played at home arena of highest remaining seed.
Campbell: #7 seed, opening game is Tuesday, Feb 28 at 7 PM against #10 seed Presbyterian. This game will be played at Gilbert Craig Gore Arena in Buies Creek, NC
UNC-Asheville: #2 seed, opening game is Thursday, March 2 at 1 PM in quarterfinals against the winner of Campbell/Presbyterian,
Gardner Webb: #4 seed, opening game is Thursday, March 2 in quarterfinals against #5 seed High Point at 9PM.
High Point: #5 seed, opening game is Thursday, March 2 in quarterfinals against #4 seed Gardner Webb at 9PM.
Championship game is on Sunday, March 5th at 1pm
U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville NC
Championship game on ESPN 2. Others on ESPN 3. Full bracket here
UNC-Greensboro: #1 seed, opening game is on Saturday March 4 at 12PM against the winner of #8 Western Carolina/#9 The Citadel
Western Carolina: #8 seed, opening game is Friday March 3 at 5PM against #9 seed The Citadel
Championship game on Monday March 6 at 7PM on ESPN 2