Meridian Star

February 23, 2014

Seedings complicated for MACJC tourney

By Robby Atkinson / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

— It is very difficult to believe that the regular season in junior college basketball has come to a close and that the postseason will begin this week.

I have had the opportunity to see teams have their postseason dreams come true and see them shatter in an instance, but I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like what occurred Thursday night with the teams in the MACJC South Division.

The Meridian Community College Lady Eagles needed to assure themselves a spot in the MACJC State Tournament this week by defeating Southwest Mississippi Community College, but the night wouldn't be as simple as one game in the division.

MCC eventually defeated the Lady Bears, 79-68, and that guaranteed the Lady Eagles one of the four seeds in the tournament this week. The only problem was which seed would Meridian have going into the field of eight teams.

MCC, Jones and Pearl River each finished the regular season with a 10-4 overall record to make things a little complicated to determine which team would earn which spot in the tournament, but things would get even more complicated throughout Thursday evening.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Southwest Mississippi each finished the season with a 9-5 overall record, which cause many to wonder who would ultimately be the final four teams to represent the MACJC South Division this week at the tournament.

I know that a lot of people are thinking that it is as simple as breaking the tie by how the teams preformed in head-to-head matchups, but the only problem is that most of the teams split meetings throughout the season.

The confusion is making your head hurt at this point and mine as well on trying to explain this bizarre situation. The tiebreaker was eventually ironed out early Friday morning by factoring in point differential among the five teams in consideration for the four spots in the final standings.

Jones County Junior College was eventually determined to be the top seed in the division, and Meridian clinched the second spot in the South Division race. Pearl River wrapped up the third spot, while Southwest Mississippi will head to Fulton this week as the fourth seed from the South. Co-Lin was the odd ball left out of the state tournament despite winning nine of its final ten games of the regular season.

I can say with confidence that many teams in the field are glad that Co-Lin is not in the tournament because they have probably been the hottest team in the MACJC over the past month.

I have never seen a situation such as the one that occurred this past week with the MACJC South Division race, and it truly goes to show you that every game does count.

MCC will open the tournament Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Mississippi Delta Community College. The tournament is being played at Itawamba Community College in Fulton.

The case is finally closed on this crazy women's basketball story for now, but it is safe to say that this could shape up to be one of the best tournament fields among the eight teams in the history of the tournament. The only thing that we are guaranteed this week at the MACJC Tournament is that there will be no tie breakers, but you just never know what might happen.