Augusta State earns 6th seed

By Chris Gay 
Staff Writer, Augusta Chronicle

For the first time in Augusta State men's basketball history, players sat in a computer lab at the Augusta State University athletic complex and watched the NCAA Division II Tournament selection show via the Internet.

Because they defeated Armstrong Atlantic State in the Peach Belt Tournament championship game, the Jaguars already knew they were in the ``Big Dance.'' Augusta's main concern was its seeding and opponent.

A few groans were let out when Augusta grabbed the sixth, and final, seed in the South Atlantic Regional. The Jaguars will face No. 3 seed Catawba (25-4) on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., with the time to be determined. The winner of that game will play No. 2 seed Winston-Salem State (24-4) on Friday.

``We weren't given a whole lot of respect in this thing,'' Tuell told his players. ``I look at it as a challenge. They didn't give you any respect.''

Johnson C. Smith (25-4), winner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, will play host to the regional as the No. 1 seed. No. 4 seed Wingate (24-4) will play No. 5 seed Armstrong Atlantic State (25-7) in Thursday's other game.

``I've played Wingate and I've played Winston-Salem, but I've never heard of Catawba,'' Jaguars guard Gary Boodnikoff said. ``It doesn't matter what their team's record is. If we play our best, we're going to win.''

Last year, Georgia College & State won the South Atlantic Regional as the No. 6 seed. Two years ago, Lander won the regional.

The Division II Tournament consists of 48 teams from eight regions. The winners of those regional six-team tournaments advance to the Elite Eight in Bakersfield, Ca., on March 21-24.

In past years, the NCAA Division II selection show has been available by phone or satellite feed. But this year, the NCAA did away with the satellite feed and used the Internet.

``I thought it was nice,'' Jaguars guard Jayme Johnson said. ``It brought us all together and made us feel like a real basketball team.''

When Augusta takes the floor Thursday it will make just its second Division II tournament appearance in the school's history. In the 1977-78 season, the Jaguars lost to both Central Florida and Livingston in the NCAA South Regional.

Augusta has made two other postseason appearances in the NAIA National Tournament. In 1970, the Jaguars defeated Monmouth before losing to Stephen F. Austin, 74-71. In 1971, the Jaguars lost to Great Falls 75-71.

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