March 6, 2013

Tourney time for trio with area ties

Three Division I college basketball teams led by coaches with area ties will begin competition in their respective conference tournaments this week.

The women’s teams at East Tennessee State University and Jacksonville (Fla.) University will compete in the Atlantic Sun tournament, which starts today at Mercer University in Macon.

ETSU’s Lady Buccaneers (8-17), who are led by Chatsworth native and former Murray County High School standout Karen Kemp, are seeded seventh in the eight-team tourney. They went 6-12 in conference play during the regular season and will take on second-seeded Stetson at 6 p.m. today in the opening round. Kemp is in her 19th season as coach and led the Lady Bucs to three straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2008 to 2010.

Jacksonville’s Dolphins (11-18) are led by former Northwest Whitfield High School standout Jill Dunn — she’s in her ninth season leading the program. They are seeded sixth after going 7-11 in conference play during the regular season and will face No. 3 Mercer at noon Thursday in the opening round. The winner will take on the winner of the first-round matchup between ETSU and Stetson in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

First-round games can be viewed at through the ESPN3 online network. The semifinals and championship game — which is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday — will be broadcast by CSS.

The men’s team at Kentucky’s Murray State, which is led by former Dalton resident and Northwest graduate Steve Prohm, is seeded second in the eight-team Ohio Valley Conference tournament, which starts today at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

The Racers — who finished the regular season 20-9 overall and 10-6 in conference play — re-ceived a bye into Friday’s semifinals, when they’ll play either No. 7 Eastern Illinois, No. 6 Southeast Missouri or No. 3 Eastern Kentucky at 8 p.m.

The game will be shown live at through the ESPN3 online network and in delayed broadcast on ESPNU at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The tournament championship, scheduled for 6 p.m. Satur-day, will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Last year, in Prohm’s first season as coach, the Racers went 31-2 — they started 23-0 before suffering their first loss — won the OVC title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament as a No. 6 seed.

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