Springfield, Ohio - Above the stage where Wittenberg University athletes strive for basketball preeminence, the red conference championship banners are about to become even more crowded.
The Wittenberg men's and women's basketball teams both clinched a share of the 2002 North Coast Athletic Conference regular season championship with wins on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The Tiger men clinched a share of a second straight NCAC title with a win over visiting Earlham College at the HPER Center, improving to 21-3 overall and 14-1 in the conference as a result of the 81-60 win over the Quakers. The Tiger women clinched a share of their first NCAC regular season championship since 1999 with a win at Oberlin College, improving to 18-5 overall and 13-2 in the conference as a result of the 81-61 win over the host Yeowomen.
It's cause for much celebration, although winning basketball championships is something of a birthright for Wittenberg teams. The Tiger men, who are riding a streak of 46 consecutive non-losing seasons, have now won 29 Ohio Athletic Conference or North Coast Athletic Conference regular season titles since 1960, including nine crowns in the 13 years in which the Tigers have competed in the NCAC. The Tiger women, who are in the midst of a streak of 13 consecutive winning seasons, have now won eight NCAC regular season titles since 1989, their first year in the league.
While it may seem like the right time for the players and coaches to celebrate and catch their breath, it most definitely is not. Both teams are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 16 with even more at stake.
The Tiger men travel to the College of Wooster for a game against the nationally ranked Fighting Scots. If Wittenberg pulls off a second straight win against Wooster - the Tigers were 75-70 victors in a Jan. 26 match-up in Springfield - the Tigers will win a second straight outright conference championship and will sew up home court advantage in the NCAC tournament as No. 1 seed. A loss would create conference co-champions and home court advantage and the No. 1 seed in the tourney would be determined by tiebreaker criteria, which could come down to a coin flip.
The Tiger women play host to Denison University, currently the third-place team in the NCAC. If Wittenberg can duplicate its 85-63 defeat of the Big Red in Granville on Dec. 8, 2001, the Tigers will assure themselves of their first outright regular season NCAC crown since 1998 and home court advantage for the NCAC tournament as No. 1 seed. A loss to Denison, coupled with a win by three-time defending champion Ohio Wesleyan University over Allegheny College on Saturday, would create conference co-champions and home court advantage and the No. 1 seed in the tourney would be determined by tiebreaker criteria, which could come down to a coin flip.
Action gets under way for the Tiger women at 2 p.m. at the HPER Center. The Tiger men are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off at the College of Wooster's Timken Gymnasium in Wooster, Ohio. The men's game is expected to be a near sellout, so fans are encouraged to get there early. Tickets for both games can be purchased at the door. Both games can be heard locally on WBLY (AM 1600) and on the Internet at http://www4.wittenberg.edu/news/athletics/broadcast.shtml, the home page for Wittenberg University athletic broadcasts.
Send a Message
• Book-Delivering Prof Named Ohio Professor of the Year
• Senior Class Selects Livestrong President & CEO Doug Ulman As 2011 Commencement Speaker
•Communication Program Honored Nationally With Top Award
• Wittenberg University Art Students Finalists For Scholarship Award