Whitworth gets set for sectionals in Wisconsin

Published On: Mar 06 2012 01:52:00 PM PST   Updated On: Mar 06 2012 02:31:37 PM PST
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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Seventh-ranked Whitworth is headed to Whitewater, Wisconsin for the sectional rounds of the 2012 NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament.

The Pirates (26-3) will play 6th-ranked Virginia Wesleyan (26-3) in one Sectional Semifinal on Friday.  Host Wisconsin-Whitewater is 25-4 and ranked 8th in the latest D3hoops.com poll.  The Warhawks will take on #24 Wheaton (23-6).

Whitworth advanced to its third straight sectional (Sweet 16) and four overall by defeating McMurry 90-69 and Trinity 64-53 in the first and second rounds this past weekend at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas.

VWU was awarded a first round bye and defeated St. Mary's (Md.) 70-57 at home in the second round.  The Marlins are champions of the Old Dominion Athletics Conference and won the NCAA Division III championship in 2006.

Whitworth and VWU have never played.  The Pirates' only game against a team from the ODAC was the 2009 Sectional Semifinal loss to Eastern Mennonite at Guilford (NC).

Whitewater advanced to the sectional by winning a pair of games at home in the first and second rounds.  The Warhawks defeated Northwestern (Minn.) 83-68 and St. Thomas (Minn.) 91-62.

Wheaton, like Whitworth, moved on after a pair of wins away from home.  The Thunder defeated Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) 68-60 and Edgewood (Wis.) 73-62.  Both games were played at River Falls, Wisconsin.

Official start times for Friday's Sectional Semifinals are still to be determined and will be announced on Monday, but Whitworth and Virginia Wesleyan are expected to play in the first semifinal.  The winners will meet in the Sectional Final on Saturday for the right to advance to the NCAA Division III Final Four the following weekend in Salem, Va.