|CIAA South Division title up for grabs in finale week|
|JCSU can earn first-round tourney bye|
|Published Wednesday, February 21, 2018 12:24 am|
The CIAA South title is going down to the final week of the regular season.
Johnson C. Smith, Shaw and St. Augustine’s are within a game of each other in the league standings, with the Golden Bulls (17-9, 10-4 CIAA) holding the division’s best record (7-1) heading into Wednesday’s game against Winston-Salem State. A JCSU sweep against the Rams and Shaw on Saturday would deliver the outright division championship and a first-round bye at next week’s tournament in Charlotte. A loss, in either game, though, complicates things and opens the door for Shaw and St. Augustine’s.
JCSU: The Golden Bulls have lost two straight after a school-record nine-game win streak but hold the keys to their seeding. A pair of wins against WSSU and Shaw (18-8, 10-4) would give them the outright No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.
Shaw: A pair of wins combined with a JCSU loss in either of their final two games would give the Bears their second straight South title under coach Joel Hopkins’ second tenure on campus. Shaw hosts Fayetteville State (7-18, 4-10) Wednesday and closes at JCSU Saturday with the division championship potentially on the line.
St. Augustine’s (12-13, 9-5): The Falcons might have the toughest road to a first-round bye. They need to sweep a pair of road games at Livingstone Wednesday and Fayetteville State Saturday plus a split by either JCSU or Shaw to tie for second. The Falcons, who’ve lost two in a row, would lose head-to-head tiebreakers against Shaw and JCSU for the top seed, however.
Virginia State (21-3, 11-3): The nationally-ranked Trojans have the CIAA’s top record and comfortably ahead of the pack, three wins ahead of second place.
Virginia Union (12-13, 7-7): The Panthers are a game up on third-place Bowie State (12-13, 7-7) and can hang on to a first-round bye with a 2-for-2 week.
This story includes a correction that Shaw won the 2017 South Division championship.
|Shaw won the division last season.|
|Posted on February 21, 2018|
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