Hey, I'm a high school basketball fan, mostly. I like college ball, don't get me wrong. But during the state tournament? Who's got the time.... Still, there's a couple days here to at least get caught up on what's been happening. And, you know about the Gopher men and women, so I'm going to get right to the stuff you might not know about.
Division 2 Men
Mankato State--er, Minnesota State Mankato--and Winona State are 2 of 4 NSIC teams invited to the D2 dance. They plus Augustana and Upper Iowa all played in the Central Region tournament at Mankato. Mankato and Winona are still playing.
Mankato beat Arkansas Tech 81-65 and Harding 86-65 over the weekend. Meanwhile, Augustana took out Upper Iowa 79-65 while Winona beat Northeastern State 70-57, then Winona knocked out Augustana 77-65.
As a result, Mankato and Winona play tonight at Mankato to advance to the D2 Elite Eight.
Jarvis Williams scored 19 and 16 points in Mankato's 2 wins, and the Mavericks shot 50 and 57 percent in the 2 games. Clayton Vette scored 18 for Winona in its 1st win, Taylor Cameron a career high 25 in the 2nd. Against Augustana, Winona shot 70 percent in the 1st half to take a lead of as many as 22 points.
Mankato is 28-4, Winona 26-7 going into tonight's region final.
Division 2 Women
Minnesota women fared less well but Augustana of the NSIC won 3 games, eliminating Concordia (St. Paul) along the way, to advance to the Elite 8. Augie defeated CSP 78-66 though the Golden Bears shot 45 percent from the floor. It was the 1st time all year that Augustana has allowed a team to shoot better than 40 percent. Augie used a 17-0 streak late in the 1st half to take control.
Mankato lost to Emporia State 69-67 to finish at 26-6, then Augustana defeated Emporia 75-74. Augie will play Clayton State next weekend in the Elite 8.
Meanwhile, St. Thomas stayed alive in its effort to repeat its national D3 title of 2 years ago. The Tommies had to survive a substantial threat from Calvin, winning 63-62 as Calvin missed a potential game-winner with about 5 seconds left to play. St. Thomas, the nation's top D3 shooting team at .527, shot .524 against the nation's #2 FG defense (.364), but made only 9-of-22 FT.
The #1 ranked Tommies move on the the Elite 8 where they will play #8 Williams on Friday. 4 Friday winners will play again on Saturday, and those winners will play for the D3 title on April 7. This is the tommies 3rd trip to the Elite 8 in 5 years (2009, 2011).
Earlier the St. Thomas women also defeated Calvin (at Calvin) by 2 points in an NCAA D3 game, and the Tommie women also defeated Calvin for the D3 volleyball title last fall.