By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2001
TAMPA -- With both basketball squads ousted early from the Sunshine State Conference tournament, the watching -- and waiting -- begins.
Both will be awaiting word come Sunday's NCAA Division II selection process to see if they'll receive an invitation to the national tournament. In Division II, six teams play in eight regional tournaments. The UT men might be in a better position despite dropping a first-round conference tournament game to Barry 67-62. After falling out of the top 25 last week, the Spartans (21-6) still own the No. 1 ranking in the South Region. Besides Florida Southern, which advances after winning the SSC tournament Tuesday, other possible South Region teams include West Georgia, Morehouse, Arkansas-Monticello and Eckerd.
For the women, a 19-9 record and a No. 6 ranking in the region might not be enough. UT split its conference tournament games, beating Barry 73-61 before losing 81-75 to eventual champion Rollins, which receives an automatic berth. Other teams up for spots are Delta State, Arkansas Tech and Florida Southern.
The tournament pairings and sites will be announced at 6 p.m. Sunday. MORE BASKETBALL: Juniors Sylvere Bryan and Gecarri Freeman were named to the All-Sunshine State Conference first team. Bryan and Freeman, who started all 27 games this season, averaged 10 and 13 points a game, respectively.
On the women's side, Yushonda Morse was named Freshman of the Year and honorable mention All-SSC after leading UT with 14 points per game. Morse also was named to the SSC All-Tournament team.
In addition, sophomore center Jessie McDowell was named to the SSC second team.