Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Preview
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AAC Tournament Game Schedule
Wednesday, Feb. 22
Game 1 – No. 8 Milligan (12-15) vs. No. 9 Truett McConnell (12-16), 2:30 pm
Game 2 – No. 7 Columbia International (14-13) vs. No. 10 Bluefield (10-18), 4:15 pm
Thursday, Feb. 23
Game 3 – No. 1 Union (26-1) vs. Game 1 Winner, 12 pm
Game 4 – No. 4 Tennessee Wesleyan (15-10) vs. No. 5 Bryan (14-13), 1:45 pm
Game 5 – No. 2 Reinhardt (15-12) vs. Game 2 Winner, 7:30 pm
Game 6 – No. 3 Montreat (17-10) vs. No. 6 Point (15-13), 9:15 pm
Friday, Feb. 24
Game 7 – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner, 6 pm
Game 8 – Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner, 8 pm
Saturday, Feb. 25
Game 9 – Championship Game – Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner, 3 pm
Opening Round Breakdown
One of the more unique conference tournaments in the NAIA. The AAC Tournament is played in Kingsport, KY in a hotel conference hall. Union has won the tournament 9 years in a row and are the heavy favorites to win a 10th. Behind them, it’s a crap shoot. This is a ultra-competitive league 2-10. Reinhardt having the 2-seed puts them in the best position to get the 2nd auto-bid for the AAC. We will see if someone can pull off the major upset over Union, but this is always a fun and unique tourney that has seen its fair share of buzzer beaters.
No. 8 Milligan vs No. 9 Truett McConnell
Freshman, Dylan Bartley, has been a stud for this relatively youthful Milligan team. He finished the regular season in 10th place in scoring in the AAC. Which says a lot on a team that only averages 75ppg. Overall, this game will be a pretty low scoring affair. Truett-McConnell averages just 74ppg. Truett-McConnell will lean on 2nd team All-Conference performer, Brent Kelly to get them the win. These two teams split their regular season matchups, both winning on the others home floor. Truett-McConnell comes in losing 3 of its final 5 games, but this is a team that does have a Top 25 win over Florida College earlier this season.
No. 7 Columbia International vs No. 10 Bluefield
The AAC Freshman of the Year, Elijah White will look to lead Bluefield to a big tourney win. Elijah finished 7th in the AAC in scoring with 16.2ppg. Which is mind boggling on a team that averages just 72ppg. CIU counters with 1st team All-AAC member, Dianthony Heathcock and 2nd team players, Skyler McKinney and Darrian Oates. CIU won 6 of their final 9 games and while they had some road struggles this season, they have been really good at home. This being a neutral court, it will be interesting to see how that affects this CIU squad. A team they just lost to 7 days ago.