The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) men and women’s basketball tournaments got underway yesterday. Bahamian Fredrick King will be in action today, competing for the Creighton University Bluejays (21-12). Bahamian head coach of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Lady Rebels women’s basketball program Yolett McPhee-McCuin will lead her team into their opening game today. Bryan Clarke’s team, the University of Houston Cougars, was in action last night.
King and the Bluejays will play in the tournament for a 24th time in program history and eighth time in the past 12 years. They are ranked at number 24 in the country and will take to the court at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time when they play the North Carolina State University Wolfpack (23-10) at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
The Bluejays are coming off a third-place finish in the Big East Conference. In the NCAA Tournament, they are the sixth seed in the South Region and the Wolfpack is the 11th seed.
Standing 6’10” and weighing 234 pounds, King played in 33 games and started three of those games. He is averaging 3.8 points in nine minutes per game. He is shooting 60.5 percent from the field and grabbed 2.6 rebounds per game this season. His season-high in points is 16 points against Marquette back in December. The Andros native had a season-high 11 rebounds and five blocks against Arizona State.
McPhee-McCuin is making her second trip to the NCAA DI women’s championship as the head coach of the Rebels. The program will be making its 19th appearance. The Rebels earned an at-large bid and will tip off the tournament as the eighth seed in Seattle 4 Region. They will take on the ninth seeded Gonzaga University Bulldogs at 10 p.m. tonight at the Maples Pavilion in Stanford, California.
Grand Bahama native McPhee-McCuin ventured to Oxford, Mississippi, and has put the women’s basketball team on the map in the last five years. They have advanced to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for the past two years.
The past season, they finished with a 23-8 win/loss record, including an 11-5 record in a tough SEC. This is the second consecutive season in which they have won 20-plus games and 10-plus games in the SEC.
Clarke is sitting on the University of Houston Cougars’ bench as the sports performance assistant coach. The Cougars have made it to the Sweet 16 a total of 13 times. They are attempting to head back to the Final Four for a third consecutive season, and coincidentally, the Final Four will be held in Houston, Texas, this year.
The Cougars are the number one seed in the Midwest Region. They played the number 16 seed Northern Kentucky Norse at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, last night. The result was unavailable up to press time.
The Cougars earned their number one seed after one of the best seasons in school history. This past season they posted a 31-3 overall record and captured their third straight American Athletic Conference (AAC) regular season title. They had a 17-1 record in the conference. This is their fourth regular season title in the last five years. They are making their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 24th in school history.