Feb. 14, 2012
Northwest heads to Truman, climbs to #14 in polls
MARYVILLE, Mo. – After closing out rivalry week with a gritty win the MIAA leading Northwest Missouri State Bearcats hit the road for a conference match-up with Truman State Wednesday night from Pershing Arena.
The Bearcats (19-3, 13-3 MIAA) who moved up to No. 14 in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25, have won six straight and hold a 1-game lead over Washburn (18-6, 12-4) in the MIAA standings, but face a tough test Wednesday at Truman.
Northwest is looking for a season sweep of the Bulldogs and have their eyes set on its first MIAA regular season title since 2006-07. However, knocking off TSU is just the first step for the Bearcats with four games remaining including the defending MIAA Champions, Missouri Southern.
Although the season has been a quite one for the 14th-ranked Bearcats, they have been at the top of the MIAA standings nearly start to finish, but have not had a player win an MIAA weekly honor. However, the biggest prize makes its first appearance on Wednesday, the NCAA Regional Rankings.
Northwest closes the season with two teams figured to be ranked in the polls when they debut on Wednesday, facing both Central Missouri and Missouri Southern at home. Wins over both, would give Northwest the regular season crown and a No. 1 seed heading into the MIAA tournament.
The Mules, who visit Bearcat Arena on Saturday, cracked the NABC Top 25 last week at No. 25, but fell out this week, are one of five MIAA teams that look to be in the mix in tomorrow’s rankings. Missouri Southern, Washburn, Fort Hays State and Northwest are the other five teams who figure to be ranked in the top 10.
Only the top eight schools earn bids to the 64-team field after tournament champions claim automatic bids from the MIAA, Lone Star, and Heartland Conferences.
Midwestern State, who has represented the South Central Region each of the last two years, figures to be in the mix for a No. 1 seed in the region as well. The 7th-ranked Mustangs are 21-2 while conference foe Tarleton State stands at 21-3 overall, and sits at No. 5 in the NABC Top 25.
Other teams figuring to be in the mix come Wednesday are Incarnate Word, West Texas A&M and Cameron, all from the LSC. While Texas A&M-International and St. Mary’s also boast respectable records from the Heartland Conference.
However the rankings shake out tomorrow, four wins equals a conference championship for the Bearcats, and the road starts at Truman Wednesday night. Tipoff from Pershing Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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