Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Big day!

What a day it's been! Scratch that... what a week! We'll start with the highlights of the day. Drum roll please...

  • Brady Wiebe is the GPAC Player-of-the-Year! (And All-GPAC First Team)
  • Chase Walder and Larry Swann were both named to the All-GPAC Second Team
  • The Tiger men fell just a single spot to No. 18 in the final NAIA poll of the season, basically ensuring them a spot in the NAIA national tournament
  • DWU received the 7th at-large bid to the national tournament!
The athletic offices at DWU have been busy with excitement since about 3 p.m. when the official at-large bid was announce. We've been pretty sure that we'd get in since we upset Northwestern a few weeks back, but Dordt potentially winning the GPAC tournament title and getting the second automatic bid for the league could have thrown a wrench in things (we thought). But they didn't win, so it doesn't matter!

Ok, a few thoughts on today's happenings. Brady is the fourth POY to come from DWU in the past five seasons. Brock Seim won in 2007, Preston Broughton in 2008, Darrin Dorsey last year and now Wiebe this year. I can't even put into words what that says about the Tiger men's basketball program. That's huge. That means that, since the GPAC started in 2000, DWU has won four of the 11 conference player of the year awards. That's a pretty good ratio for DWU. And an excellent honor for Wiebe, who, despite not being the most athletic of basketball players, led the league in scoring and rebounding and the fourth player in DWU men's basketball history to score 2,000 points. He'll also likely become the first men's basketball player to earn All-American honors three time. Not a bad career.

Nationals. We'll find out who we play in the first round in a few hours here, but I couldn't wait to post. Too much going on in my brain right now, I'd forget something. Coach Murphy feels pretty confident about whoever we play with the 7th at-large bid. We weren't the last team in. Hotel arrangements are already being made and travel plans finalized. I can't wait! (More on nationals later when we figure out who we play in the first round and how the seeding pans out.) There will be four GPAC teams in Branson. Northwestern is the No. 12 seed, USF is No. 15 and Briar Cliff took the 10th at-large bid. It will be interesting to see who they draw as well.

A tidbit on the GPAC semifinal game in Sioux Falls... first of all, we had way more fans there than USF did. Second of all... a few guys had OK games, but no one really stood out. Germ hit some big shots, and Larry had a big three at the end to get it down to a two-point game, but no one could hit the huge shots. And we couldn't get a stop. USF has a very solid offense, and all of their guys can shoot. The Coo went on a 10-0 run to end the first half that just killed us. I think if we could have stopped that run or slowed them down, we would have been OK.

As if preparing for Branson wasn't exciting enough (or enough work!), I'm also trying to keep track of our wrestling and indoor track teams at nationals this week and get the Tiger softball and baseball teams ready to play week-long tournaments in Arizona over spring break. Yikes! I have plenty to do in the next few days, that's for sure.

That's all for now. More tomorrow or Friday about the first round of the national tournament. Here's hoping it's warm in Branson next week. Who ya rootin' for?

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