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Seeding up for grabs as men's and women's basketball continues torrid stretch

Seeding up for grabs as men's and women's basketball continues torrid stretch

Playoff fever is intensifying at the Community College of Rhode Island as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are making a run for the 2023–24 postseason.

The women, ranked No. 10 in the nation in this week’s NJCAA Division III poll, continued their regional dominance Saturday with a 67-41 non-league win at home against the University of Maine at Augusta are now 15-5 overall. Their league record remains a perfect 10-0 as they aim for their third consecutive undefeated season in Region XXI, which, including the postseason, would extend their conference win streak to 37 games. They’re currently sitting at 32 in a row against their regional rivals with three regular-season games to go.

After a narrow loss on the road against third-place Quinsigamond, the men’s team bounced back nicely Saturday with a 90-60 over fellow regional rival MassBay, allowing them to jump one spot in the standings and take sole possession of seventh place with six league games remaining. At 8-8 in Region XXI, the Knights lead eighth-place MassBay (8-9) by half a game and ninth-place Roxbury (7-9) by a full game in the standings; only the top eight teams qualify for the Region XXI Tournament, so the next two and a half weeks will be a footrace to the finish line with as many as nine teams vying for those eight spots. As close as the Knights are to dropping out of the playoff picture, they also trail fifth-place Massasoit (10-8) by two games in what figures to be a close race for preferential playoff seeding.

The women’s team has three leagues remaining sandwiched between a pair of non-league games against Division II SUNY Sullivan, which is 18-4 overall. The game to watch for the Knights is February 22 at home against Massasoit (8-3), which has already clinched a playoff spot among the top four teams in the league and sits just one game behind second-place Northern Essex. The Warriors are the only team in the region that’s posed a threat to CCRI’s unbeaten streak, losing to the Knights by just six points at home in December.

The men have a bigger hill to climb with MassBay and Roxbury in hot pursuit. Of the Knights’ remaining six league games, three are against Springfield Tech, Bristol, and UConn Avery Point, who have combined for only five league wins this season.

The Knights beat Springfield Tech by 62 in November, but lost to Bristol and UConn Avery Point before the winter break amidst their lowest point of the season – a five-game losing streak that eventually rolled into nine losses in 10 games before the first half mercifully came to an end. The Knights also face a critical stretch between February 13–22 with games against Quinsigamond, Roxbury, and Massasoit, which could decide their fate.

The men’s Region XXI Tournament quarterfinals will be hosted by the top four seeds with the semifinal and championship rounds played at Northern Essex. The entire four-team women’s tournament will also be played at Northern Essex. CCRI’s women’s team returns to actual Saturday on the road at SUNY Sullivan while the men play Thursday night at Bristol.

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