Following Saturday’s loss in the WAC Tournament championship game, ACU head coach Brette Tanner said the Wildcats would weigh their options for postseason play.
On Sunday, the College Basketball Invitational put out its bracket. And ACU was not the only WAC school to make a postseason decision. California Baptist and Stephen F. Austin will join the Wildcats in Daytona Beach March 19-23.
Stephen F. Austin is the 4-seed. ACU is the 6-seed. And CBU is the 14-seed in the 16-team bracket.
Stephen F. Austin takes on UNC-Asheville of the Big South Conference. ACU takes on Sun Belt Conference foe Troy. And CBU opens up with Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee.
Play begins on March 19 at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. You can watch the first two rounds on Flo Hoops. The semifinals and championship will be broadcast on ESPN2.
ACU Decides to Play
ACU is coming off a busy week. The Wildcats beat 7-seed Utah Valley on Wednesday night. And then the Wildcats knocked off two WAC regular season co-champs in 3-seed SFA and 2-seed Seattle to reach the WAC Tournament title game.
Perhaps it was playing four games in four days. Maybe it was simply that New Mexico State was bigger. But, becoming the lowest seed to win the WAC Tournament was not to be. Clayton Henry had 15 points to help New Mexico State end ACU’s impressive run with a 66-52 win over the Wildcats at the Orleans Arena.
This is an opportunity for Airion Simmons to play one last time with his brothers. Mahki Morris, Coryon Mason and Reggie Miller are in their final years at ACU. The Wildcats are 23-10 overall and finished WAC play 11-7.
For Stephen F. Austin…
For SFA, its season came to a screeching halt on Thursday. The Lumberjacks came out flat and ACU took advantage in a 76-62 win over SFA in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals. Gavin Kensmil had 15 points in the loss but other SFA player was in double figures.
The Lumberjacks came into the WAC Tournament having won 10 straight to earn a share of the regular season crown. SFA is the only WAC team to beat New Mexico State in Las Cruces since 2017. Kyle Keller boasts a bunch of young players including Sixth Man of the Year Jaylin Jackson-Posey so that may be a reason SFA chose to play.
SFA is 22-9 overall and finished its first year in the WAC at 14-4.
California Baptist to Play
2021-22 wasn’t quite the season CBU envisioned. It got off to a a good start with an 11-4 non-conference record. But, the wheels kind of came off in WAC play. The Lancers opened with a road loss to Chicago State. In its game against Dixie State, CBU led by eight points with just over a minute to play. But then surrendered an 11-0 run to the Trailblazers who won 76-73 in Riverside. CBU has a win over Utah Valley but that is about as significant as it gets. The Lancers were swept by Grand Canyon and Seattle. And CBU struggled against the top of the WAC.
Yes, CBU played without Freshman of the Year Taran Armstrong for five weeks. But, it just seemed like the Lancers didn’t get a lot of rhythm n 2021-22. Perhaps that is why they chose to play in the CBI. Maybe it is to get freshmen Taran Armstrong and Juhlawnei Stone more minutes. Whatever it is, they chose to play. And they get a first round matchup that is not favorable against Middle Tennessee State.
The Lancers are 18-15 overall and finished 7-11 in WAC play.
Stephen F. Austin tips off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. CBU tips off at 5 p.m. ET and ACU plays the late game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.