published Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

SoCon byes locked but seedings at stake

The exact seeds for the Southern Conference men's basketball tournament have yet to be determined because each of the 11 teams has two games remaining on the regular-season schedule.

But the byes are locked.

Five teams know they will have Friday, March 7, off to prepare for quarterfinal games.

Davidson, Elon, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Wofford and Western Carolina have earned first-round byes and will need to win three games in three days to win the SoCon tournament and advance to the NCAA tournament.

UNC Greensboro, Georgia Southern, Samford, Appalachian State, Furman and The Citadel know they'll be playing on the first day in the U.S. Cellular Center and must win four games in four days to go dancing.

"There's a divide with the five programs getting a bye having all established themselves as contenders," SoCon commissioner John Iamarino said. "The programs that will be playing on Friday will have a tough road.

"That dividing line is much more pronounced this year than in past years."

Davidson (17-11, 13-1) is the clear leader to earn the top seed. It needs only to win one of its last two games to have the SoCon regular-season championship to itself.

UTC (16-13, 10-4) is in a three-way tie for third but holds tiebreaker advantages over Wofford (16-11, 10-4) and WCU (17-12, 10-4) as well as Elon (18-11, 11-3), should the Phoenix fall to Wofford and Davidson.

UTC coach Will Wade has said he wants his Mocs to earn one of the top three spots because their first opponent will have played the day before. The fourth and fifth seeds will play each other after a week of preparation.

UTC's women's team locked up the top seed two weeks ago, which leaves Furman (16-11, 10-6) and Davidson (13-14, 10-6) battling for the second spot.

"It's going to be a real battle," Iamarino said of the women's tournament, "to see who might emerge from the rest of the pack."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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