ETSU men’s basketball carries No. 1 seed into SoCon Tournament Bucs claim top seed in SoCon Tournament for the first time since 2004

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2020


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (March 2, 2020) – ETSU, which clinched the outright Southern Conference regular-season title on Saturday, is the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Ingles Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville in Asheville, North Carolina.


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The tournament begins Friday, March 6, with a pair of first-round games. Four quarterfinal games follow on Saturday, with the semifinals on Sunday and the title game on Monday at 7 p.m. The championship tilt will air live on ESPN, while every other contest will air on ESPN+ and the quarterfinals and semifinals will air on select Nexstar affiliates.


The Bucs’ No. 1 seed (in the SoCon) is their first since the 2003-04 season when they were the top seed in the North Division en route to winning the tournament title. ETSU last won the SoCon tournament in 2017 and appeared in the championship game each year from 2016-18.


This year, the Bucs, who have won the tournament seven times overall, are 27-4 overall and went 16-2 in league play to capture their ninth regular-season SoCon title and 12th in program history. The 27 wins are new program record for regular-season victories.


ETSU enters the SoCon tournament having won nine straight games – the sixth-longest streak in the country – and 19 of its last 21, including Saturday’s thrilling come-from-behind, 68-67 win over Western Carolina in which Patrick Good (Johnson City) answered a go-ahead 3-pointer with one of his own with just seven seconds left to lift the Bucs to the outright league title.


ETSU will face either No. 8 seed Samford or No. 9 seed VMI on Saturday, March 7, at noon. The Bucs have faced the Bulldogs just once in tournament play, taking an 81-72 win in the 2017 semifinals, and have taken on the Keydets twice, falling to them in the semifinals in 1988 and topping them in the semis in 1990.

The Bucs swept both the Keydets and Bulldogs this season. ETSU has won 11 straight against Samford and leads the all-time series, 15-1, while the Bucs have 10 straight wins over VMI and hold a 51-14 advantage in the series.


Samford (10-22, 4-14) and VMI (8-23, 3-15) will get the men’s tournament started with their 5 p.m. game on Friday, March 6. The squads will be meeting for the second time in seven days, as they finished the regular season against each other on Saturday, with Samford taking an 84-78 win to secure the No. 8 seed.

The teams also met in the first round in 2016 and 2017, with Samford emerging victorious both times.


No. 7 seed Wofford, which finished the regular season 16-15 overall and 8-10 in SoCon play, is the defending tournament champion. Playing in the first round for the first time since 2013, Wofford would have to win four games to defend its title, a feat not accomplished since Clemson did so in 1939.

The Terriers will take on No. 10 seed The Citadel, which went 6-23 overall and 0-18 in SoCon play, in Friday’s other first-round contest. The teams have met in SoCon tournament play just once, with Wofford claiming a 68-51 win in the 2014 quarterfinals.


The winner of that contest will advance to face No. 2 seed Furman (25-6, 15-3) on Saturday, March 7, at 6 p.m. The Paladins, who split with Wofford and downed The Citadel 82-58 Saturday to complete the season sweep of the Bulldogs, have claimed a top-three seed for the fifth straight season.

Furman has faced rival Wofford in the SoCon tournament just once, falling in the 2015 final, and is 6-2 in eight appearances against The Citadel, with the last also coming in 2015, in the first round.


The 2:30 p.m. contest on March 7 features No. 4 seed Mercer (17-14, 11-7) taking on No. 5 seed Western Carolina (18-11, 10-8). Both squads have improved dramatically since last season, with the Bears entering postseason play with six more wins than last year and the Catamounts currently 11 wins better than last year’s mark. 

The teams split their regular-season meetings this year, with the Catamounts taking a 79-71 win on Jan. 11 and the Bears evening the season series with an 83-79 win 11 days later. The teams will be meeting in the SoCon tournament for the first time.


No. 3 seed UNC Greensboro (23-8, 13-5) will face No. 6 seed Chattanooga (19-12, 10-8) on March 7 at 8:30 p.m. Those teams also closed the regular season against each other, with the Mocs claiming a 74-72 win Saturday to earn the regular-season split.

UNCG holds a 3-2 lead over the Mocs in SoCon tournament meetings, with the last coming in the 2013 first round, an 87-81 Spartan win. Chattanooga has won seven more games this season than last.


2020 Ingles Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale schedule

Friday, March 6 (ESPN+)

Game 1 – (8) Samford vs. (9) VMI, 5 p.m.

Game 2 – (7) Wofford vs. (10) The Citadel, 7:30 p.m.


Saturday, March 7 (ESPN+/Nexstar)

Game 3 – (1) ETSU vs. Game 1 winner, 12 p.m.

Game 4 – (4) Mercer vs. (5) Western Carolina, 2:30 p.m.

Game 5 – (2) Furman vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 6 – (3) UNCG vs. (6) Chattanooga, 8:30 p.m.


Sunday, March 8 (ESPN+/Nexstar)

Game 7 – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 8 – Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 6:30 p.m.


Monday, March 9 (ESPN)

Championship game, 7 p.m.


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