March 11, 2014
GALESBURG—The Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team won’t have to wait long to play its first-ever game at the NJCAA Division II national tournament.
The Chargers (18-14) will face No. 2 overall seed Wayne County (Mich.) in the opening contest of the tournament at 9 a.m. March 18 at Danville Area Community College. The tournament committee seeded the top eight teams, and a blind draw with the remaining eight teams was used to determine the first-round matchups.
The Wildcats (25-4), winners of the Region XII District E tournament, also are making their first appearance at nationals. Ranked third in the most recent NJCAA poll, Wayne County boasts the third-fewest losses and is tied for the fifth-most wins of any squad in the 16-team tournament. The Wildcats’ four wins against opponents ranked in Division II are the most of any team in the field. One of those victories was a defeat of Cincinnati State, which earned the tournament’s top seed.
“They’re going to be a good challenge for us, but when you get to this stage, you know that any team you face is going to be really good,” Chargers coach Ryan Twaddle said. “We’re coming in with a lot of confidence, and we’re going to give them our best shot. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
Sandburg entered the Region IV District A tournament as the fifth seed, but it knocked off three of the top four teams to punch its ticket to nationals. Although the Chargers enter the national tournament with a modest overall record, they have the second-best strength of schedule of any team headed to Danville, and half of their 14 losses have come against teams from Division I.
All games from the tournament will be streamed live for free at www.njcaatv.com.
Tickets for the tournament can be purchased at the door. Individual sessions are $6 for adults and $3 for seniors. Children 6 and under receive free admission. All-session passes can be purchased for $35.
NJCAA Division II Tournament 1st-Round Pairings
Tuesday, March 18
9 a.m. — (2) Wayne County (Mich.) vs. Carl Sandburg
11 a.m. — (7) Wake Tech (N.C.) vs. Potomac State (W.V.)
1 p.m. — (3) Des Moines (Iowa) Area vs. St. Louis
3 p.m. — (6) Essex County (N.J.) vs. Dean (Mass.)
6:30 p.m. — (1) Cincinnati State vs. Garrett (Md.)
8:30 p.m. — (8) Central-Columbus (Neb.) vs. John Wood
Wednesday, March 19
11 a.m. — (4) South Suburban vs. Fort Scott (Kan.)
1 p.m. — (5) Phoenix vs. Lake Michigan