Elite Eight Field Set, Mocs to Face Western Washington Next Thursday
FSC making its ninth Elite Eight appearance, first since 2000
LAKELAND - The 2013 field for the NCAA Division II Elite Eight is set following the conclusion of eight regional final games on Tuesday evening as eight teams will now converge on Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., next week to continue their journey towards a national championship.
One of those teams making the trip to Louisville is Florida Southern, who earned its ninth Elite Eight berth following its 90-88 win over ninth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville in the championship game of the South Regional Tournament at Jenkins Field House. The eighth-ranked and South Region No. 1 seed Moccasins (27-5) will open the Elite Eight on Thursday, March 28 against defending Division II National Champion and fourth-ranked Western Washington (30-2), who earned a repeat trip to the Elite Eight after posting a 62-58 win over Seattle Pacific in the West Regional final late Tuesday night in Bellingham, Wash., in the third of four national quarterfinals at Freedom Hall at 6 p.m. EST.
"We're excited to get the chance to go to Louisville and play in the Elite Eight. It is a tremendous accomplishment for this team, our program and a testament for all the hard work our players have put in," Mocs head coach Linc Darner said after earning his first Elite Eight trip as a head coach.
The winner of the FSC-WWU national quarterfinal will face the winner of the Drury-USC Aiken quarterfinal game in one national semifinal contest on Saturday, March 30 at 2:30 p.m. Drury (28-4), who is ranked seventh nationally, earned its first-ever Elite Eight appearance by posting a 67-61 win in the Midwest Regional final over Bellarmine, who is the host school for this year's Elite Eight and USC-Aiken (25-7), who is ranked 20th nationally, earned its first-ever Elite Eight berth with an 82-75 win over Barton in the Southeast Regional final. Those two teams will play at 8:30 p.m. EST.
On the other side of the Elite Eight bracket, No. 3 ranked Metro State (30-2) will open the national quarterfinals at 12 p.m. EST against unranked Franklin Pierce (24-8), while the second national quarterfinal features No. 1 ranked West Liberty (33-1) meeting unranked Winona State (27-7) at 2:30 p.m. EST. Those two winners will play in the first national semifinal on Saturday, March 30 at 12 p.m. EST.
Metro State earned its seventh Elite Eight appearance with a 78-70 win over St. Mary's (TX) in the finals of the South Central Regional and Franklin Pierce advanced to its first-ever Elite Eight berth with its 57-52 win in the East Regional final over Bridgeport, while West Liberty advanced to its third straight Elite Eight after its 86-63 win in the Atlantic Region final over 10th-ranked Indiana [PA] and Winona State, who was the No. 2 seed in the Central Region, returns to the Elite Eight for the fourth time in school history after its 76-73 overtime win over Minnesota State in the title game of the Central Region.
This year's eight team Elite Eight field has posted a combined record of 224-36 this season and six of the eight squads are nationally-ranked. In addition, four teams, Florida Southern (1981), Metro State (2000 & 2002), Winona State (2006 & 2008), Western Washington (2012) have all won national titles.
All four of the national quarterfinal games will be broadcast on the web at www.ncaa.com, while the national semifinal games will be broadcast on televison by the CBS Sports Network.
The two teams that survive the Elite Eight will advance to the 2013 Division II National Championship Game, which will be held on Sunday, April 7 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga. The game, which will tip at 4 p.m. EST, will be broadcast nationally on CBS.