Conference tournament and NCAA regional seedings are both at stake in the 2013-14 regular season finale for the Truman men's basketball program this Thursday night, as the Bulldogs cap the Great Lakes Valley Conference slate at 7:30 p.m. against long-time rival Quincy (Ill.).
Prior to tipoff, the Bulldogs will recognize seniors Mike Carlson and Marek Bush during the program's Senior Night festivities. The Bulldogs (19-6, 12-5 GLVC) split a pair of games last Thursday and Saturday, picking up a season sweep of Maryville at home on Feb. 20 with a 76-51 win before falling at Missouri-St. Louis on Feb. 22 by an 80-65 score.
Truman is in search of its fourth straight winning month and can pick up win No. 5 in February with a victory on Thursday evening. More importantly, however, is Truman's standing in both the GLVC and NCAA Midwest region with the conference tournament set to begin with first-round action at campus sites on Sunday (March 2).
The Bulldogs enter Thursday night's game locked in a three-way tie for fifth-place with Southern Indiana and Bellarmine at 12-5 in conference play.
Truman could move into a tie for fourth-place with a victory and a Lewis loss at UW-Parkside, but all scenarios appear to point at Lewis winning every tiebreak possibility against the 'Dogs, relegating Truman into a "play-in" home game on March 2 in Pershing Arena.
A full detail of possible outcomes for GLVC tournament seeding is available later in this set of game notes. Meanwhile, the newest regional poll is set to be unveiled on Wednesday afternoon â?? one week after the Bulldogs were ranked seventh in the initial listings.
The top eight teams from a three conference grouping (GLVC, GLIAC, GMAC) will qualify for the NCAA Div. II Midwest regional â?? set to begin on March 15 at the top seed.
One more poll will be announced prior to next weekend's GLVC tournament in Evansville, Ind., with the selection show set for the evening of March 9. Truman's Thursday night opponent â?? the Quincy Hawks â?? check into the contest with an overall record of 10-17 (5-12 GLVC).
The Hawks have their season on the line on Thursday night, as the team sits precariously on the cut line in the No. 12 slot of the league ledger. With a victory against Truman,
QU clinches the No. 12 seed in the GLVC tournament, while a loss leaves their fate in the hands of Illinois Springfield, who hosts McKendree on Thursday night. QU most recently fell at home 75-58 to Maryville on Saturday, two days after the Hawks rose up to defeat UMSL by a two-point margin. Head coach Matt Woodley is in his third season at the helm of the Bulldog program, having posted a 37-43 record during his time in Kirksville.
The team's 19 wins this season have surpassed the combined win total from Woodley's first two seasons. Looking for 20 â?| and 13:
This year's Bulldog team is trying to become the first to win 20 games since the 2005-06 team capped its season with a 20-9 record. That squad was also the last Truman team to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Only five previous Bulldog teams â?? 1946-47 (30-2), 1947-48 (29-2), 1978-79 (20-9), 1998-99 (26-7), 2005-06 (20-9) â?? have reached the 20-win mark in a season. Also, the Bulldogs' 12 conference wins this season is the most since the 1998-99 squad also won 12 during its NCAA tournament campaign.
Only one other Bulldog team reached the dozen win mark during its conference slate, meaning a win on Thursday night would set a new program-high for this year's squad
Quincy comes to Pershing Arena on Thursday night with much on the line and will do so having earned a pair of splits each of the past two weekends.
On the season, QU is just 2-9 in games away from its home Pepsi Center but has played to within a ten point spread in each of its eight conference road games to this point (2-6 record). The Hawks are the GLVC's top free throw shooting team at 75.9% and also rank in the GLVC's top third in blocks, three-point defense, rebounding margin, and field goal defense.
Chris Babbitt is the team's offensive leader at 16.3 ppg, good for 12 th in the GLVC. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs outscored QU 44-30 in the second half to earn a 79-68 win at QU on Dec. 7. Mike Carlson scored what was then a career-high 37 points on 13-of-16 shooting, while Seth Jackson added 17 points and Reed Mells chipped in nine assists.
The Bulldogs held Babbitt to an 0-for-8 shooting night, but behind 12 free throws, he still led three Hawks in double-figures. Marty Bell is in his 11 th season at the helm of the QU program, having compiled a 183-135 record at the school.
Courtesy Truman State University