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Carthage at Augustana basketball preview

Carthage at Augustana basketball preview

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Tonight: 7 p.m., Carver Center

Twitter: @TJ_DA

Listen in: portal.stretchinternet.com/augustana/

Potential starting lineups

CARTHAGE (15-7, 7-6 CCIW): F: Kienan Baltimore (6-5, Sr.) 14.8 points per game/4.4 rebounds per game & Sean Johnson (6-11, Jr.) 11.6/8.8; C: Brad Perry (6-11, Sr.) 9.7/6.0; G: TJ Best (6-0, Jr.) 2.0/1.1 & Jordan Kedrrowski (6-4, Sr.) 16.5/3.9.

No. 25 AUGUSTANA (16-7, 10-4 CCIW): F: Pierson Wofford (6-3, Sr.) 16.8/6.9; C: Micah Martin (6-11, Sr.) 12.6/6.3; G: Jack Jelen (5-10, Jr.) 4.8/2.4, Austin Elledge (6-0, Sr.) 13.3/1.1 & Lucas Simon (6-5, Sr.) 6.0/3.5.

The series: Augustana leads 120-57

Game notes: Today's action features a women's/men's CCIW twinbill that opens with coach Mark Beinborn's Augie women (11-12, 6-8 CCIW) taking on the Carthage Lady Reds (11-11, 6-7 CCIW) at 5 p.m. It is a game with plenty of potential CCIW Tournament implications as the Vikings are a half-game out of a tourney spot and need a win tonight. … On the men's side, the Augustana Vikings look to get back on the winning track after having a five-game win streak snapped on Wednesday by league-leading North Central. Augie faces a formidable Carthage team that has won four straight, including an 81-77 decision over fourth-place Elmhurst last Saturday. The Red Men opened CCIW play with an 83-81 home win over North Central. … Augustana has won three straight over the Red Men, including an 84-68 victory in Kenosha in early January when Carthage was ranked No. 18 in the country. … Carthage averages a league-leading 82.4 points per game and allows 76.7. The Red Men are +2.1 rebounding (38.6-36.5). … Augie averages 74.6 points per game and allows 66.7. The Vikings are +5.7 rebounding (38.0-32.3). … Augie is off until next Saturday when it closes the regular season with a CCIW women's/men's doubleheader against North Park that starts at 5 p.m.

A lot on the line: In this week's first of three regional rankings, the Vikings were No. 7 in the Central Region and can hardly afford another regular-season loss if they hope to secure their seventh straight NCAA Division III Tournament bid. Being among the top eight teams in the region is imperative to have tourney hopes. Also riding is seeding for the CCIW Tournament in two weeks. Augie is solo second in the league, just a half-game up on Illinois Wesleyan, but tied in the loss column. IWU, by virtue of a win over North Central, holds the tiebreaker on the Vikings for seeding purposes. A second-place finish nets a bye into the conference tournament semifinals; the third through sixth-place teams have play-in games on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Augie coach Grey Giovanine: “A lot of implications in terms of conference seeding and post-season implications — for sure, these are two big games coming up. … (Carthage is a) very balanced team that was at one point a Top 20 team this year. We’ll have to play well. We’re coming off the loss and have to bounce back and make sure we don’t have any hangover and be ready to go.”

— Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com

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