INDIANAPOLIS – The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team was selected to the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history Sunday, as it earned the No. 3 spot in the 2012 NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament, announced by the NCAA selection committee. With a 21-8 Division II record, the Beavers (22-8, 16-6 NSIC) earned an at-large bid and will play the No. 6 seeded St. Cloud State University Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. (Central). The tournament - which runs from March 10-13 - will be hosted by the No. 1 seed Colorado School of Mines at Lockridge Arena (2,500) in Golden, Colo.
The central region is made up of teams from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). The top eight teams from the region were selected to play in the NCAA Central Region Tournament. Winners of the NSIC (Southwest Minnesota State University) and RMAC (Colorado Mines) postseason tournaments receive automatic bids, with the remaining six spots filled by teams that earn at-large bids.
The NSIC is represented by five teams in the top eight, guided by the NSIC champion Beavers and followed by SMSU at No. 4, Minnesota State University Moorhead at No. 5, St. Cloud State at No. 6 and Augustana College at No. 8. RMAC’s Metropolitan State University is No. 3 and Adams State College is No. 7.
The Beavers finished 16-6 in NSIC play to earn a NSIC Regular Season championship and the No. 1 seed in the NSIC/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament. BSU won its first round game against Wayne State College 57-53 Feb. 29 in Bemidji before falling in the semifinals in Rochester, Minn. to MSU Moorhead 73-64. BSU has already set a program record for wins in a season with 22. BSU’s only other appearance in the NCAA tournament was after winning the regular season conference title in 2003-04 and earning an at-large bid at No. 7. In that appearance the Beavers lost in the first round of the NCAA North Central Region Tournament to University of Nebraska-Kearney 104-90 in Denver, Colo.
St. Cloud State went 19-8 overall and 15-7 in NSIC play to finish tied for second in the league standings and earn the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. The Huskies have lost three straight heading into the NCAA tournament, falling on the road to University of Mary 79-72 Feb. 18, at home in the regular season finale to Concordia University, St. Paul Feb. 25 by the score of 93-89 and to Winona State University 64-53 Feb. 29 in the first round of the NSIC tournament. SCSU defeated the Beavers in the team’s one meeting this season, using a last second shot to propel the Huskies to a 72-70 victory in Bemidij.
BSU was ranked in all three regional rankings this season, leading up to the selection. The 2003-04 Bemidji State team was NSIC regular season champions and were in the regional rankings four consecutive weeks before earning an NCAA at-large bid at No. 7. The team had a regional mark as high as No. 7. The 1993-94 squad was the only other team at BSU to appear in the regional rankings, earning its highest ranking at No. 8.
NCAA Central Region Tournament
#8 Augustana (NSIC) at #1 Colorado Mines (RMAC)
#7 Adams State (RMAC) vs #2 Metro State (RMAC)
#6 St. Cloud State (NSIC) vs #3 Bemidji State (NSIC)
#5 MSU Moorhead (NSIC) vs #4 Southwest Minnesota State (NSIC)
Quarterfinal 1: #4 vs #5 winner vs #1 vs #8 winner
Quarterfinal 2: #3 vs #6 winner vs #2 vs #7 winner
Region Finals: Quarterfinal 1 v Quarterfinal 2
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).