Sunday, March 04, 2007

From Charlotte Observer

Winthrop, Davidson dancing again
League titles, NCAA berths nothing new for Eagles, Wildcats

Two local teams sped into the NCAA tournament Saturday, as Winthrop and Davidson earned automatic bids with clutch victories.

Winthrop edged Virginia Military 84-81 in the Big South tournament final in Rock Hill to clinch its seventh appearance in the Big Dance in nine years. Davidson got by College of Charleston 72-65 in the Southern Conference final in North Charleston. The Wildcats qualified for the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

The two mid-major powers have many similarities. Winthrop (28-4) and Davidson (29-4) have good depth, play strong defense and boast a coach with at least four years of NCAA tournament experience.

Neither Winthrop's Gregg Marshall nor Davidson's Bob McKillop have won an NCAA tournament game as head coaches, but this could be the year.

Davidson and Winthrop must wait a week to find out who they play -- the NCAA's 65-team field will be announced next Sunday. It's likely both will be seeded in the No. 9-13 range, which would allow them to avoid a first-round matchup against a No. 1 seed.

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