Queens, UNCP, Lees-McRae earn bids to NCAA Division II tourney

Play in the Southeast Region begins on Saturday at top-seeded Lincoln Memorial in Harrogate, Tenn.

The UNC Pembroke basketball team celebrates its Peach Belt Conference tournament title Sunday (Peach Belt Conference photo)

Three teams from North Carolina are among the 64 selected Sunday to the NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament.

Queens, UNC Pembroke and Lees-McRae were all seeded into the the Southeast Region and will begin play in the national championship event on Saturday. Second round games are scheduled for Sunday and the region final on Tuesday, with all games being played at top-seeded Lincoln Memorial in Harrogate, Tenn.

The winner of the eight-team region will advance to the Elite Eight in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Queens (28-3) is the No. 2 seed in the Southeast despite losing 77-75 in South Atlantic Conference championship game to Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. All three of the Royals’ losses this season have come to Lincoln Memorial.

Their first round opponent will be seventh-seeded Lees-McRae, which earned its NCAA bid by defeating Belmont Abbey 75-72 on Sunday to win the Carolinas Conference title behind 17 points from Lepreece Lynch.

The Bobcats are 23-8 on the season and will be making their first ever NCAA tournament appearance.

No. 3 seed UNCP, meanwhile, earned its second straight invitation by repeating as Peach Belt Conference tournament champions. The Braves (26-5) pulled away in the second half to beat Clayton State 70-60 to claim the title Sunday as tournament MVP Nigel Grant hit for 26 points and Akia Pruitt added 17 points and seven rebounds.

UNCP will play sixth-seeded Francis Marion at noon Saturday. The Queens vs. Lees-McRae game will follow at 2:30. The other two first round matchups are top-seeded Lincoln Memorial against No. 8 King (Tenn.) and No. 4 Clayton State against No. 5 Carson-Newman.

The entire 64-team bracket can be found by clicking here.