College basketball: UMD women second, men sixth in latest regional rankings
Both squads look to be safe bets to make the NCAA Division II tournament after impressive conference tournaments.
DULUTH — The Minnesota Duluth women are second and the men are sixth in the third and final NCAA Division II basketball Central Region rankings released Wednesday.
The NSIC has three teams ranked among the top 10 women’s teams and five among the top 10 men’s teams.
Nebraska-Kearney (27-3) of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association holds the top spot among women’s teams followed by UMD (27-3). Fellow NSIC schools Minnesota State Mankato (25-4) is fourth and Augustana (25-5) is fifth as the top five spots were all unchanged from last week’s rankings.
UMD is coming off an 80-74 victory over Mankato Tuesday in the NSIC tournament title game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as Brooke Olson scored 36 points to lead the Bulldogs to their ninth-straight victory. Olson, a senior forward from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, is one of the top players in the country and was featured in this week’s NSIC Spotlight.
The top eight teams in the 42-team region advance to the NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament March 10, 11 and 13. Automatic qualifiers are granted to the winners of the NSIC, MIAA and Great American Conference postseason tournaments, with the remaining five spots awarded on an at-large basis. UMD locked up the NSIC’s AQ with its NSIC Tournament win Tuesday.
The NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Selection Show will air on NCAA.com at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Northwest Missouri State (27-2) of the MIAA has the top spot among men’s teams, followed by Northern State (24-6) of the NSIC and Southern Nazarene (25-3) of the GAC.
The NSIC almost had a clean sweep of the five through nine spots, with Minnesota State Moorhead (25-6) fifth, UMD (23-9) sixth, Sioux Falls (19-11) eighth and Bemidji State (20-11) ninth.
UMD helped solidify its place among the top teams as the Bulldogs advanced to the NSIC tournament title game, falling 79-69 to Moorhead Tuesday in Sioux Falls. That bumped UMD up a spot in the regional rankings from last week.
The top eight teams in the 42-team region advance to the NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament March 11, 12 and 14. The NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Selection Show will air on NCAA.com at 10 p.m. Sunday.