The quest for a Division II national championship begins this weekend for three men’s and two women’s basketball programs from the Mountain East Conference. A closer look at what’s ahead this weekend:
Men’s (Atlantic Regional at West Liberty)
— Fairmont State: A No. 5 seed in the in the Atlantic Regional, the Falcons are coming off a pair of wins over Atlantic Region qualifiers Charleston and West Liberty in the conference tournament that gave them their first league championship since 1984.
Fairmont State (15-4) will face fourth-seeded Mercyhurst (11-0), which competed as an independent this season.
Saturday’s game is scheduled to tip at 8:45 p.m., and will mark the Lakers’ first contest since February 27.
The winner will face top seed Hillsdale on Sunday.
— West Liberty: The host Hilltoppers (15-4) are the No. 3 seed and will battle No. 6 Malone (17-6) at 6 p.m Saturday.
West Liberty knocked off Glenville State at the buzzer in a MEC Tournament semifinal, before falling just short to Fairmont State in the title game. That loss snapped an 11-game win streak for the Hilltoppers.
The Pioneers have won 10 straight and enter off a Great Midwest Athletic Conference championship.
— Charleston: As the No. 2 seed, the Golden Eagles (14-3) are afforded an opening round bye.
Charleston suffered a 15-point setback to Fairmont State in a MEC semifinal, which ended a 14-game win streak.
UC will play the winner of the West Liberty-Malone matchup. Charleston beat the Hilltoppers 78-74 in the only meeting between the two teams this season on January 30.
The Atlantic Regional men’s final is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Women’s (Atlantic Regional at Greater Columbus Convention Center — Columbus, Ohio)
— Glenville State: The second-seeded Pioneers (12-3) enter as the No. 2 seed fresh off a loss to Charleston in the MEC title game.
Glenville State will play Saturday at 8:45 p.m. against the winner of Friday’s matchup between No. 3 Kentucky Wesleyan and No. 6 Tiffin. GSC didn’t play from Feburary 7-23 and has won four of six since, including splitting two matchups with the Golden Eagles.
— Charleston: UC has responded to its first two losses of the season with four straight wins, including an 87-80 victory over the Pioneers in the MEC title game that helped the Golden Eagles garner the top seed in the Atlantic Regional.
As the top seed, Charleston (17-2) has an opening round bye and will face the winner of Friday’s Cedarville-Walsh matchup at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Atlantic Regional women’s final is set for Monday at 7 p.m.