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  • Writer's pictureGabriela Vitale

Men's Club Championship Preview - A Great Eight At Gannon

The club basketball national championship stage is set at the Highmark Events Center on the campus of Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. The three-day, single elimination tournament will run April 22-24. The skills competition and annual NCBBA all star game will be held on Saturday, April 23.

Here’s a look at the eight teams that will play for the title.

No. 1 Purdue: Seeded number one going into regionals, the Boilermakers held the top place after winning the Great Lakes Regional Championship defeating Notre Dame 78-70, a team they lost to back in week two. Purdue enters at 21-2 and on a nine-game hot streak. After their first season entering the NCBBA back in 2016, the Boilermakers won the national championship and have continued their impressive performance throughout the years and look to add another national championship under their belt.

Keep an eye on Emerson Halbleib and Gunnar Reffeitt, both named player of the week after helping Purdue clinch the No. 1 seed. In three games Halbleib averaged 17.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds. Reffeitt was outstanding on defense blocking six 3-pointers in the 3 regional games. He averaged 13.7 points per game and had five assists.

No. 2 Penn State: The Lions were also a one seed going into their regional but dropped to second for nationals. They defeated No. 6 Syracuse 75-65 to claim the North Atlantic Regional Championship and are 22-3 on the season, winners of seven straight. Penn State has an advantage of being an experienced team with only four underclassmen.

No. 3 East Carolina: The Pirates were an automatic qualifier after winning the South Atlantic conference. They extended their win streak to nine games and settle their record at 15-1, winning back-to-back national championships in 2015 and 2016.

No. 4 Towson: Towson was another automatic qualifier after winning the Mid-Atlantic regional. They defeated Radford (98-89) and Virginia (75-66) in regionals, stand at 13-1 on the season and are capable of making noise in Erie.

No. 5 Bryant: Bryant was seeded sixth going into regionals and shocked the club basketball nation, upsetting top-seeded Boston College, 84-82. Bryant moved from unranked all the way to No. 6 after their New England Regional title.

No. 6 Boston College: Although their record sits at an impressive 20-1, the Eagles earned one of the three at large bids after the Bryant upset. If they can regain their confidence, they have a chance to make a long run at nationals. Henry Holzinger was an impressive standout in their regional game, hitting a 3-pointer to bring the Eagles one point away from Bryant with a minute left, but it wasn’t enough.

No 7 Notre Dame: Another at-large bid was given to Notre Dame and the Great Lakes North Conference Champion settles in at 14-2 on the season.

No. 8 Radford:The final at-large bid, the Mid-Atlantic South Conference champions are 16-2 and have one of the best players on the court in in Kamron Hughes, who has 275 points on the season, averaging 17.13 points per game. He has 112 rebounds and has an average of 3.81 steals a game with 111 field goals. Taylor Chandler is another standout, with 175 points and 69 field goals. To complete the trio, Ethan English has 167 points on the season and has made 70 field goals with a 97% free throw percentage.

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