March Madness starts for JU on Wednesday

March 4, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - March Madness begins for the JU men's and women's basketball programs on Wednesday as they open the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament at Lipscomb's Allen Arena.

The women's team will get the tournament started at 1 p.m. (EST) against No. 7 seed Stetson, with the men's team tipping off 30 minutes after that against No. 7 seed Mercer.

The men's team is looking to snap a 22-year drought from the Big Dance and is coming off a 12-4 record in conference action, tying the school record for most wins in conference play. It is just the second time in school history that JU has earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, the last coming in the 1986-87 season - when the Dolphins advanced to the NIT.

The men's squad does have some history on its side. The last four A-Sun Tournaments have been won by the No. 2 seed. The last No. 1 seed to take home the title is Georgia State back in 2001.

"This is a new season and everyone has the same record now," said JU men's head coach Cliff Warren. "Everyone is on equal footing - three wins from the NCAA Tournament. We've had some good practices preparing for the tournament and we know that we have to play our best basketball of the season to advance."

The women's team faces a familiar opponent in Stetson, who upset the Dolphins in the regular season finale on Saturday.

The Dolphins have won 21 games and earned the No. 2 seed, giving the Dolphins back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time ever. A year ago, JU bowed out in the semifinals, but is looking to build off of that this season.

"When you get to tournament time, you need to be playing your best because you know your opponent is going to throw everything they have at you," said JU women's head coach Jill Dunn. "Having made it to the semifinals last year, we know what to expect. This group knows what it has to do to succeed in the tournament."