Both Cumberlands basketball teams find out seeding, first round matchups
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Both Cumberlands basketball teams earned NAIA Tournament berths. The women are headed to the dance for the first time since 2014, while the men are in the tournament for the eighth straight year.
On the men’s side, the Patriots finished the regular season with a 17-9 record, included a 11-8 mark in conference play.
The Patriots earned the second-seed in the Alexandria Bracket B and will face third-seed Xavier Friday, March 12, a 4 p.m. EST. This will be the second meeting between these two schools and the first since December 30, 2018. Xavier earned an automatic berth into the tournament after winning the Gulf Coast Tournament as the Gold Rush will be making their 20th appearance in the NAIA National Tournament. The Gold Rush finished second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference with a 13-4 overall record and a 5-1 mark in conference play.
Cumberlands is being led by Tevin Olison, Josh Williams, and Jahi Hinson this season with three players averaging in double figures. Olison leads the way averaging 23.2 points per game, including netting 24.5 points per game in conference play. He is ranked fourth in the NAIA in total scoring and sixth in three-pointers made. Williams has had a strong season averaging 11.1 points per game and 2.0 assists per game. Hinson, a second-team all-conference selection, has tallied 10.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The winner of the Cumberlands-Xavier game will face the top-seed SAGU on Saturday, March 13. SAGU was the Sooner Athletic Conference regular season champions after posting a 10-2 record. It is their ninth trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
Cumberlands is one of four MSC teams to qualify for the national tournament. MSC regular season champion and tournament champion Shawnee State along with Georgetown and Thomas More were also among the 48-team field.UC’s 29 national tournament appearance is the second most appearances by an active NAIA school.
On the women’s side, the Patriots earned the second seed in the Omaha Bracket B.
This marks the 15th time in program history that the Patriots have qualified for the NAIA National Tournament and the first since 2014.
UC will face the #3 seed in the bracket Providence (MT), who earned an at-large bid. Providence, who competes in the Frontier Conference, went 9-4 on the season, before falling to Montana Western in their conference tournament. The top-seed in the Omaha Bracket is Dakota State (SD), who won the North Star Athletics Association Conference Tournament. The Trojans went 25-3 on the season, including going 14-0 in conference play. It is their seventh trip to the national tournament.
Cumberlands has had a strong season, led by the MSC Randy Vernon Defensive Player of the Year, Silvia Veloso. The senior leads the team in points (12.3), assists (3.6) and steals (3.5), while being ranked second on the team in rebounds (6.4). Veloso was a first team all-conference selection, while Vilma Covane notched second team all-conference honors. Covane averaged 10.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game.
The Patriots posted their first ten win conference season since the 2013-14 season, and notched two wins over ranked opponents, including a 70-63 win over then 12th-ranked Shawnee State.
UC will open the tournament on Friday, March 12, with Providence. Game times are still to be announced. The winner of that game will advance to play top-seed Dakota State on Saturday, March 13.