Owls are in! The W men’s basketball earns its first-ever post-season berth
For the first time in its brief existence as a program, the Mississippi University for Women men’s basketball program is going dancing! The Owls (11-13) were named as the No. 6-seed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division I Championship bracket, announced by the national office on Sunday.
The W will face The Apprentice School, the No. 3-seeded squad in the eight-team field. Paul Quinn College from Texas is the tournament’s top seed, when the event takes place March 13-16 in Richmond, Va., at the Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center and Richard Bland College. An awards program and skills competition will take place on Sunday, March 12, as well.
The Owls’ selection caps a great turnaround from last season, when the team won just three times in Head Coach Dean Burrows‘ first campaign at the helm with a largely inherited roster and a late hiring. Fast forward to 2022-23, as The W equaled the previous school season record for victories (11 in 2019-20) and a primary cast of players who are still underclassmen (graduating just three members from the 2022-23 roster).
MUW clung to a ranking between seventh and 10th most of the year. Playing one of the more difficult schedules among the USCAA teams, Burrows’ crew solidified its position down the stretch by winning three of its final five games (losing only to Belhaven University, twice, in that span). The W handily defeated Southeastern Baptist College, Warren Wilson College, and Pensacola Christian College down the stretch of the regular season.
Statistically, the Owls were in the top-10 in virtually every USCAA category. The W ranked No. 4 in field goal percentage (45.7), No. 7 in three-point field goal percentage (32.4), No. 6 in free throw percentage (69.2), No. 7 in scoring (77.4 p.p.g.), No. 6 in rebounds (39.7 r.p.g.), and No. 3 in assists (16.5 a.p.g.).
This will be the first-ever meeting in men’s basketball between the Owls and Apprentice. Largely due to geographic location, the teams have no common opponents, either. The Builders – from Newport News, Va. – are 20-7 on the year, with a 12-3 mark at home and 7-4 on the road (1-0 on neutral floors).