CIAA tournament

February 26, 2003|By Bill Free

CIAA tournament

Site: RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.

When: Today through Saturday

2002 champion: Shaw

2003 favorites: Bowie State and Virginia Union. Bowie has a major edge in most statistical columns, including overall record, but on the court these two teams have split two overtime games. Bowie lost three games in 12 days in February to finish 23-4, compared to Virginia Union's 16-9 mark.

Dark horse: Winston-Salem State. The Rams have been mired in the middle of the CIAA pack all season but could emerge now.

Player to watch: Bowie State center Jon Smith. This transfer from Virginia Tech has been exciting the fans since early December, when he shattered a backboard while dunking. Then in a February game, he scored his first eight points on slams.

Outlook: Bowie has the kind of veteran team, led by power forward Tim Washington (19.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Smith (14.5, 7.4), that could turn this tournament into a one-team show. But, remember, it's being played in North Carolina, and strange things have a way of happening to Maryland teams on Tobacco Road in late February and early March.

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