MOUNT CARMEL -- It's been by all measures a vastly successful season for Wabash Valley College's basketball teams.
The Lady Warriors finished their season undefeated at 28-0, winning the Great Rivers Athletic Conference title and earning the first No. 1 ranking in school history. The men's team finished 23-7, ending with a share of the GRAC title with John A. Logan. The No. 25 ranked Warriors ended the season on a blistering stretch, winning 18 of their last 21 games.
Albeit it'll be all for nothing if they don't come ready to play in their District Tournaments at Rend Lake College in Ina, Ill. this week.
The single-elimination format tournament will advance the victor to the NJCAA Tournament.
District P Women's Tournament:
On the women's side Wabash Valley enters as the No. 1 seed, sitting undefeated on the season and the No. 1 team in the nation. They'll face Rend Lake on Tuesday (March 5) at Wabash Valley College with tip-off slated for 5:30 p.m. The first round matchups are the only ones in the women's tournament that are not at Rend Lake, instead they're hosted by the higher seed.
With a victory Wabash Valley would be slated to face either No. 4 seeded Lincoln Trail or No. 5 seeded Olney Central on Thursday at Rend Lake at 5 p.m. The Lady Warriors boast an average margin of victory of 54 points over Lincoln Trail and 35.5 points over Olney in their two regular season matchups.
In the bottom half of the bracket Vincennes resides as the No. 2 seed and will face SWIC, the No. 7 seed. The winner of that game will face No. 3 seed Southeastern Illinois College or No. 6 seed John A. Logan.
Wabash Valley figures likely to advance to the championship in the top half of the bracket, with Vincennes residing as favorites in the bottom half. If the two do emerge, they'll face off on Friday at Rend Lake at 5 p.m. The Lady Warriors defeated Vincennes 81-70 in their most recent matchup on March 1.
District 16 Men's Bracket:
In the men's bracket Wabash Valley resides as the No. 2 seed, earning the distinction after a victory over Lincoln Trail on March 2 and Olney Central defeating John A. Logan on March 1, bumping John A. Logan down to the No. 3 seed. Vincennes, the No. 2 team in the nation sits as the No. 1 seed in the tournament and favorites to advance to the NJCAA Tournament.
The tournament begins on Monday with No. 8 seed Shawnee facing off against ninth seeded Lewis and Clark with the winner advancing to play Vincennes on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Lincoln Trail, the No. 7 seed will face 10th seeded Lake Land for the right to face Wabash Valley on Tuesday at Rend Lake at 5 p.m. Lastly, SWIC resides as the No. 6 seed and will face No. 11 seeded Southeastern Illinois with the winner advancing to play John A. Logan on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
If the higher seeds prevail, Wabash Valley would face No. 5 ranked John A. Logan on Wednesday (March 6) at 7 p.m. in a clash of top 25 teams for the right to advance to the conference championship. The two teams split in their two meetings this season with Wabash Valley winning the most recent matchup 89-85 back on Feb. 6.
Vincennes would face an Olney Central team that provided them their lone loss of the season in a 98-96 overtime thriller on Jan. 9. It'll be a revenge game for the Trailblazers and they'll likely be highly motivated. Tip-off for the game is slated for 5 p.m.
The victors of the two semifinal matchups will face off in the championship on Friday (March 8) at 7 p.m. with the victor advancing to the NJCAA Tournament.
With their exceptional track record and talent, Vincennes remains the favorite to win the men's tournament, but upsets can happen come tournament time.
One thing's for sure -- no team is to be taken lightly in March. The unexpected can occur and the Wabash Valley teams will have to continue their excellent play if they're to survive and advance.