Eagles draw Montevallo in NCAA tournament

Eagles draw Montevallo in NCAA tournament

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

VIDEO: Jared Johnson Interview

VIDEO: Watch Party Reaction

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman's locker room had a palpable lack of drama Sunday as the Eagle men's basketball team gathered to watch the NCAA tournament selection show to find out their postseason fate. 

The Eagles knew they were in by virtue of their SAC tournament championship 63-48 earlier in the day, the questions were what seed would the Eagles be and who would they face.

Carson-Newman drew the seventh seed and a matchup with Montevallo (24-8) Saturday at 2:30 p.m.  The matchup will be played at No. 1 seed and host Lincoln Memorial's Tex Turner Arena.

"If you want to believe in the importance of team, sacrifice and unity," head coach Chuck Benson said. "Then we've got a great example of what can happen when everybody sells out for you."

Montevallo rallied from a 25-point second half deficit to lay claim to the Peach Belt Tournament Championship crown with an 80-76 win over Columbus State.

"We saw Montevallo last year in the tournament and they are outstanding," Benson said. "They are in this tournament basically every year and have tremendous talent. I'm excited because last year we had to go head-to-head with LMU. This year it's nice to face someone who we don't have any history with.  I'm also really happy for LMU earning the right to host this thing."

The Eagles make their fourth ever NCAA appearance and their second in as many seasons.  C-N is 1-3 all-time in NCAA tournament games. The Eagles are 33-17 in postseason play dating back to Carson-Newman's prolific NAIA tournament days.

Carson-Newman and Montevallo have squared off just once, in a tournament at Kennesaw State during the 2004-05 season, when the then top-ranked Falcons hammered Carson-Newman 93-53.  The loss was Carson-Newman's last defeat by 40 points or more.  

The Falcons own a 20-9 all-time record in the tournament and have advanced to the Sweet 16 on seven different occasions.

All of UM's NCAA Tournament appearances have come under the 2014-15 Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year, Danny Young.

Montevallo owns three region tournament championships in the NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament. The Falcons captured back-to-back South Region championships during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons and took home the Southeast Region title during the 2011-2012 season.

2015 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional schedule

Saturday, March 14

Game 1 - No. 6 Columbus State vs. No. 3 UNC Pembroke (12:00 p.m.)

Game 2 - No. 7 Carson-Newman vs. No. 2 Montevallo (2:30 p.m.)

Game 3 - No. 8 North Greenville vs. No. 1 Lincoln Memorial (5 p.m.)

Game 4 - No. 4 Mount Olive vs. No. 5 GRU Augusta (7:30 p.m.)

Sunday, March 15

Game 5 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (5 p.m.)

Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (7:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 17

Southeast Regional Championship - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 (7 p.m.)

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