Brewton-Parker plays host to GACC men's basketball tourney

By Terry Gaston

MOUNT VERNON -- Brewton-Parker College's new Student Activities Center will be the stage for the 10-team Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference men's basketball postseason tournament beginning Wednesday.

The tournament will feature two play-in games Wednesday, four games Thursday, semifinals Friday night and the championship game Saturday night.

The tournament will determine at least one more conference representative in the 32-team NAIA Division I Men's National Tournament, March 26-April 1 in Kansas City, Mo.

"This is a great opportunity for Brewton-Parker College to have the tournament here," said Steve Barker, the Barons' head coach and athletic director. "I think we have worked hard to make this tournament the best we can and that people will be impressed by it and the quality of competition that we will have. It will be four days of really high intensity."

As the GACC's regular-season champion, No. 1 seeded Faulkner University of Montgomery, Ala., has clinched one of the GACC's two automatic berths in the national tournament.

The GACC tournament winner also will join the national tournament field; should that be Faulkner, then the tournament runner-up also will qualify for the NAIA tourney.

The Eagles (23-7 overall, 14-4 GACC) were ranked No. 10 in last week's NAIA I national ratings, which had Southern Polytechnic State University at No. 22 and Brewton-Parker at No. 24. The rating was the Barons' first since the 2000-01 preseason ratings.

Either or both of the GACC tournament semifinalists also may qualify for the national tournament as an at-large selection based on the final ratings that will be released March 19.

The tournament begins Wednesday with two play-in games. North Georgia College and State University (13-19, 6-12) is the No. 8 seed and plays No. 9 Shorter College (10-18, 4-14) in the first play-in game at 2 p.m.

At 4 p.m., No. 7 seeded Southern Wesleyan University (11-21, 7-11) plays No. 10 Emmanuel College (6-27, 2-16). All 10 teams will participate in a welcome banquet that evening in the Brewton-Parker cafeteria.

The first of Thursday's four games begins at 2 p.m. with No. 4 seeded Southern Polytechnic (21-10, 12-6) playing No. 5 seed Georgia Southwestern State University (16-15, 9-9). No. 3 seeded Brewton-Parker (20-12, 13-5) plays No. 6 seed Reinhardt College (15-17, 9-9) at 4 p.m.

At 6 p.m., Faulkner will play Wednesday's North Georgia-Shorter winner, and No. 2 seeded Auburn Montgomery (19-8, 14-4) plays the Southern Wesleyan-Emmanuel winner at 8 p.m.

Friday's semifinals begin at 6 p.m. The Auburn Montgomery/Southern Wesleyan-Emmanuel winner will play the Brewton-Parker/Reinhardt victor at 6 p.m., followed by the 8 p.m. game that will match the Faulkner/North Georgia-Shorter winner against the Southern Polytechnic/Georgia Southwestern victor.

Saturday's championship game will tip off at 8 p.m.