Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Big game = understatement

To say that tonight's game against Northwestern College is a big one would be a huge understatement for the Tiger men's basketball team. Northwestern has already clinched the GPAC regular-season title, but a win tonight would do huge things not only for DWU's seeding for the postseason tournament, but also for a potential bid for the national tournament.

The Tigers are 20-7 overall and 10-6 in the GPAC heading into tonight and are tied for Concordia for fourth place. The top five teams get a bye, but it's a good possibility that only the top three teams from the league will get a trip to the national tournament, so DWU really needs to jump a few spots in the league.

We've gotten no help from elsewhere in the league, either. USF won by a single point at Dordt the other day, and Briar Cliff won by two against Concordia last week. So it's up to the Tigers to control their own destiny. A win would put DWU safely in the top four, maybe top three, depending on what else happens around the league.

A win would also be huge for an at-large bid to the national tournament. Northwestern is No. 10 in the NAIA, and a win would mark the fourth time (I think) this season the Tigers had beat a ranked opponent (Black Hills State, Xavier University and Briar Cliff). Those wins (I assume) are huge for at-large bids.

Northwestern beat us 76-67 in Orange City in early January, but the Tigers didn't look like themselves. Their offense wasn't productive and defense couldn't get a stop, and they just couldn't get anything going. The Red Raiders are talented -- and tall -- but nothing DWU can't handle. Hopefully home-court advantage will help us out.

Oh, and another thing we've got going for us (kind of) -- two top-ranked teams in the NCAA lost within a matter of three days this week (including Wisconsin's upset of undefeated Ohio State -- go Badgers!), so I feel like that is a good sign. If unranked K-State can beat Kansas, No. 23 DWU can definitely beat the 10th-ranked team in the country. (Seems logical to me, anyway.)

Hope to see everyone there. We need a huge cheering section. Who ya rootin' for?


Matt said...

Quality wins and losses have nothing to do with At-Large bids. The bids are handed out based solely on the final poll of the season. If you're not in the top 20, you are firmly on the bubble. Have to hope that most of the teams ranked ahead of you qualify automatically through either regular season championships or conference championships. (Thus freeing up more available at-large bids)

Leah Rado said...

Thanks for the info, Matt. That definitely makes sense. Here's hoping last night's win puts us in the top 20.