INDIANAPOLIS – After spending the entirety of the 2017-18 season atop the South Atlantic Conference standings, the NCAA announced that Carson-Newman is the top seed in the Southeast Region Sunday evening. Its opponent will be eighth-seeded Anderson in a game Friday evening.
The Lady Eagles are in the playoff field for the eighth time in program history and by being the No. 1 seed will host the 2018 Southeast Region Tournament Friday, Saturday and Monday of this week at Holt Fieldhouse. Game times will be available on Monday.
"It's another thing that we have never done before is being able to put that thing at Carson-Newman," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We will try to play three games to advance even further. It gives you an advantage playing in the gym you played all year long. We have a 21-game win streak. We shoot it exceptionally well in our gym. Some of the time the opponents do as well. We would rather be at home. You get to sleep in your own bed. You don't have to travel. There's going to be a little bit of pressure because you are the No. 1 seed."
Since the NCAA aligned to Southeast Region, only one SAC school has hosted the region as Lenoir-Rhyne did so in 2008-09 and 2013-14. Mars Hill hosted the South Atlantic region in 2001-02 and Catawba was the top team in 2002-03 making Carson-Newman the host institution for a regional for the fifth time since the field went to a host site system in 2001.
Winners of 21 straight games inside of Holt Fieldhouse dating back to its last loss on Jan. 7, 2017 (80-75 in OT against Wingate), C-N has its longest home winning streak in the SAC era (since 1989-90). It is the seventh time in that span that the Lady Eagles have double-digit wins in-a-row at home. The prior mark was 12 set on four occasions (2014-15 to 2015-16, 2011-12 to 2012-13, 2004-05 and 1989-90).
During the streak, the Lady Eagles have outscored their opponents by 608 points, an average of 29 points per game. Only once in that span has a game differential been single digits when Lenoir-Rhyne lost 82-75 on Feb. 11, 2017.
In 2017-18, C-N is averaging 100.9 points per game at Holt Fieldhouse shooting 50 percent from the floor scoring at least 100 points in nine of the 14 contests. Mincey's group has eight games with at least 50 percent shooting from the field with the lowest output being 44 against Newberry on Jan. 20, 2018.
Carson-Newman was last in the tournament field in 2014-15 when it lost as the No. 7 seed to fifth-ranked Columbus State in Gaffney, S.C. Overall the school is 3-7 when playing in the NCAA Tournament with two of those victories coming in the deepest run ever in 2005 when it lost to Shaw 67-53 in the region title game.
It is a dynamic group that has spent 10 weeks inside of the top five in the country. Prior to this year, the SAC had been represented in the top five for a total of nine weeks. The program spent three weeks as the No. 3 team in the country, achieving the highest mark during a season by any school in league history as one of four schools in the history of the league to reach the top five.
C-N captured its sixth league title in school history by beating No. 21 Wingate 86-71 in the regular season finale and its second tournament championship on the year. The Lady Eagles have won 29 games after beating Wingate in the tournament title - more than any team in SAC history. Overall it is the second-most wins in school history.
It is the highest scoring team in the history of the conference at 92.5 points per game besting the 87.6 scoring average by the 1990-91 Wingate unit. It is a mark that ranks third in the country. C-N has scored 100 or more points 11 times. The program had done so 11 times in the prior 27 years as a SAC member.
The opening round contest will be the second time that C-N faces a fellow SAC member in the NCAA postseason as the club beat Lenoir-Rhyne 79-72 on March 12, 2010 in Greenwood, S.C.
The Trojans and Lady Eagles will meet for the 21st time as C-N holds a 12-8 margin having swept the regular-season series. Mincey's group led for all but 4:44 between the 80 minutes played leading by as many as 41 in the Holt Fieldhouse matchup. It was a 72-56 decision in the Palmetto State and a 99-61 dismantling at Mossy Creek across the two meetings.
Carson-Newman is 7-1 this season against the Southeast Region field with the winner of its game playing the victor of fourth-seeded Lander and fifth-seeded Limestone. The Bearcats lost in the Peach Belt title game to North Georgia and are in the field for a fourth-straight season. The Saints are in the tournament for a seventh straight season after winning the Conference Carolinas regular-season crown.
On the opposite side of the bracket second-seeded Wingate draws the reigning region titleholders in seventh-seeded Columbus State. The Bulldogs are in the postseason for a fifth straight season and 16th time in school history.
Third-seeded North Georgia, winners of the Peach Belt regular season and tournament crowns, plays the Conference Carolinas tournament champ, Barton in the three/six contest.
The winner of the Southeast Region will advance to the National Quarterfinals to be held in Sioux Falls, S.D. on March 19-23 for the chance to play for a national title. Teams will be seeded 1-8 ahead of the week.
Friday, March 9, 2018 (Holt Fieldhouse)
#1 Carson-Newman vs. #8 Anderson
#2 Wingate vs. #7 Columbus State
#3 North Georgia vs. #6 Barton
#4 Lander vs. #5 Limestone
Saturday, March 10, 2018 (Holt Fieldhouse)
CN-AU winner vs. Lander-Limestone winner
WU-CSU winner vs. UNG-Barton winner
Monday, March 12, 2018 (Holt Fieldhouse)
Southeast Region Championship Game
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