FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2009
Winner takes all in regular season finale for JU
It is often said that to be the best, you have to beat the best.

That is what the JU men’s basketball team faces on Saturday afternoon as they take on the three-time defending Atlantic Sun Conference champions, Belmont, on their home floor at 5:15 p.m. (EST).

The winner is the Atlantic Sun Conference champion, and for JU this game represents the Dolphins chance to claim the school’s first regular season title.

“It is never easy to win a championship and Belmont is not going to hand over its crown easily,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “Our guys know how important this game is and what is at stake. We’ve put the last game behind us and we are focused on what we need to do to be successful against Belmont.”

The Dolphins (16-12, 14-5 A-Sun) will need an improved defensive effort after giving up a season-high 92 points against Lipscomb on Thursday.

The Bisons hit nine 3-pointers in the game, including all three attempts in the second half.

“We definitely didn’t play to our level on defense last night,” Warren said. “When you give guys open looks, they are going to knock them down.”

While JU is looking to capture its first regular season championship, the Dolphins are looking to exorcise some demons. Jacksonville hasn’t won on the Nashville road trip since 2005, having lost seven in a row to the teams in the Music City.

To top it off, the Dolphins are just 1-6 all time at Belmont with the only win coming in 2005.

SEEDING SCENARIOS: With the conference tournament next week, Saturday’s game also holds great significance in terms of seeding. JU has three distinct scenarios entering the final day of the regular season:
No. 1 seed – JU win (first game will be the semifinals on Friday)
No. 2 seed – JU loses to Belmont and ETSU loses to Mercer (first game will be the quarterfinals on Wednesday)
No. 3 seed – JU loses to Belmont and ETSU beats Mercer (first game will be the quarterfinals on Thursday)