Wildcats robbed of NCAA tournament bid
Despite having a better overall record and a better regional record, it was not enough for NCAA tournament officials in deciding whether Wayne State should get the last spot over Minnesota State in the Div. II Central Region tournament.
Sunday night, tournament officials awarded the eighth and final spot to the Mavericks, who enter the tournament with an 18-11 record, losing their final two games by 28 points to Winona State on the road and by 10 points at home to Bemidji State, who finished last in the South Division of the Northern Sun Conference this season.
The only criteria where Minnesota State was ahead of Wayne State was on head-to-head matchups, where the Mavericks beat Wayne State at Wayne (90-79 on Jan. 26) and at Mankato (89-78 on Feb. 16). The Wildcats had a better overall record (21-10 vs. MSU's 18-11) and a better regional record (18-9 vs. MSU's 16-10).
The regional tournament begins Saturday, March 16 at Maryville, Mo., with the finals set for Tuesday, March 18. The bracket is as follows:
No. 1 Northwest Missouri State (32-0)-* vs. No. 8 Minnesota State (18-11)
No. 4 St. Cloud State (22-8) vs. No. 5 Southern Nazarene (28-5)-**
No. 2 Northern State (26-6)-*** vs. No. 7 Southeastern Oklahoma (22-7)
No. 3 Washburn (24-7) vs. No. 6 Missouri Southern State (23-7)
*- MIAA tournament champion
**- GAC tournament champion
***- NSIC tournament champion