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The first NCAA Division II Atlantic Region rankings were released Jan. 26, with some intriguing differences for CIAA men’s and women’s teams.

basketball_bouncesThere were no real surprises on the men’s side. Bowie State University (13-3) came in at No. 2, Johnson C. Smith (12-5) entered at No. 4, Winston-Salem was No. 6 and two spots out of qualifying for the postseason-at 10-was Elizabeth City State (12-6).

Even with a little under a month to go, two might be as high as any team in the CIAA will get. At No. 1 is West Liberty State, also the No. 1 team in Division II. They have an 18-0 record and have scored over 100 points in all but two of their contests with a high of 154 points.

The women’s side gets a little more interesting. The Lady Golden Bulls of Johnson C. Smith are 16-1 overall, yet find themselves just ninth in the Atlantic Region. They were 14-1 when the rankings were released. Maybe it’s the region or maybe their schedule is perceived as not being as tough as others, but ninth seems a bit low. The East Region is the only other region that comes close to the Atlantic as their ninth-ranked team sported a 13-3 record while all 10 ranked teams had double-digit wins. Out of the other six regions, the average record for the No. 9 team was 10-5. Hmm. Next up for the Lady Golden Bulls is working their way into the Division II Top 25.

Men’s Game of the Week
Johnson C. Smith’s 77-73 loss to Fayetteville State dropped them into second place in the Southern Division and sets them up for a trip to first place Winston-Salem State University, Jan. 31.
The Rams would move up in the regional rankings with a win and take a commanding two-game lead in the division. The Golden Bulls need a win after falling to the Broncos.

Men’s Games of Interest
Bowie State travels to Virginia Union Feb. 3 for a game between the top teams in the Northern Division. The Bulldogs are currently 3-0 in the division while the Panthers are right behind with a 3-1 mark, having lost to St. Paul’s College.

Also Feb. 3, Elizabeth City travels to Lawrenceville to take on the surprising Tigers, who have injected themselves into the conversation and are lurking in third with a 2-1 division mark. The Vikings lost to BSU and Virginia State last week and need wins to stay in the division and region race.

Men’s Notes
After starting the season 7-1, the Shaw Bears have fallen off the grid going 4-6 and find themselves last in the Southern Division with an 0-2 division record.

Women’s Game of the Week
Also in Winston-Salem Jan. 31. The Lady Rams are 12-6 overall, but are tied with the Lady Golden Bulls (16-1) at 2-0 in the South. The winner will take a leg up in the division race and JCSU needs to keep winning to have a chance at breaking into the top eight in the region.

Women’s Notes
Congratulations to Bowie State’s Teaunsha Robinson who joined the 1,000-point club while scoring 10 points in the Lady Bulldogs 62-45 win over St. Paul’s College, Jan. 29.

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