The University of the District of Columbia, the defending NCAA Division II national champion and No. 1-ranked team, will play Sacred Heart of Bridgeport, Conn., in a New England Region quarterfinal playoff game at Southern Connecticut State in New Haven Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The winner will advance to the final four in Springfield, Mass., March 25-26.

UDC (27-2) has won 22 straight. The Firebirds won the South Atlantic regional championship last weekend, defeating St. Augustine's, 93-88, in the final. UDC handled Randolph-Macon's slowdown in a 34-17 victory in the semifinals.

Sacred Heart (27-4), also a running team, couldn't keep up with UDC and lost here in January, 104-87. Since that loss, Sacred Heart has won 21 of 22. The Pioneers won the New England regional title last week, beating Assumption, 113-108, in four overtimes, and American International, 72-68.

This quarterfinal was scheduled to be played at the site of the New England champion, but Sacred Heart's gymnasium doesn't seat the minimum 2,500 required so the game was switched to Southern Connecticut State. UDC asked to be the host but the alternate site was found.

The other quarterfinals match Morningside (25-5) versus Jacksonville State (23-8) in the North Central Region at Morningside; Southeastern Missouri (25-5) at Bakersfield State (24-4) in the West Region and Wright State (25-4) at Bloomsburg State (23-9) in the East Region.