ST. GEORGE – Dixie State coaches, players and fans all took a collective sigh of relief when the brackets for the Division II NCAA tournament were announced. The West Region was the last region announced and the Red Storm was selected as the 6th seed. They will face 3rd seed Cal Poly-Pomona in the first round of the NCAA D-II Tourney.
DSU was the last region team to receive an at-large bid. The 7th and 8th seeds were automatic bids given to Cal State-Stanislaus and Chaminade for winning their conference tournaments.
“Some of us were a little nervous when we saw that the lower seeded teams had won their tournaments,” said PacWest all conference forward Zach Robbins. “We felt that we had a better non-conference resume than some other teams.”
Chaminade will face top seed Cal State-San Bernardino. Cal Baptist, the PacWest Conference season champion, fell to the 5th seed having lost its last two games. The Lancers will face Chico State in the first round.
Should Dixie State win in the first round, the Storm may face 2nd seed Seattle Pacific, a team Dixie defeated in overtime early in the season.
With the conference tournament upsets, the selection committee had to divvy up five spots for eight teams. Many felt that CS-SB, CP-P and Cal Baptist were locks. That left the next three regionally-ranked teams for the final two spots. The final season rankings had those teams as Dixie State, Chico State and Dominican at 5, 6 and 7. However Chico State jumped above Cal Baptist and captured the 4th seed. That probably meant that the selection committee had to determine between Dixie State and Dominican for the final spot. Dominican had won 11 of its last 12 games and had also bested the Red Storm in both season match-ups. Dixie, however, had key resume wins over Seattle Pacific and Cal Baptist, both season conference champions. Those wins apparently tipped the scales in the Red Storm’s favor.
“If things had played out like they should have, Dominican would have made the field,” said DSU head coach Jon Judkins. “There is no subjectivity in the criteria the selection committee uses to determine who gets invited. Dominican (did not get invited) and Cal Baptist (dropped in seeding) were both hurt because their strength of schedule was low.”
Dixie State’s first-round match-up will be a contrast of styles. The Broncos of Cal Poly-Pomona are known for their tough zone defense. They only average 66 points per game, but hold opponents to less than 58 per game. As a team, they shoot poorly from the free-throw and 3-point lines. But they hold their opponents to even worse percentages.
“We faced them in the tournament my freshman year,” said Robbins. “They are like a Division II Syracuse. They play a scrappy zone defense.”
First round games begin March 15. The West Region games will be played at Cal State-San Bernardino.
NCAA West Regional
Hosted by Cal State San Bernardino – Coussoulis Arena
March 14-17, 2014
Friday, March 14 (Regional Quarterfinals)
12:00 p.m. No. 3 Cal Poly Pomona (21-6) vs. No. 6 Dixie State (21-6)
2:30 p.m. No. 2 Seattle Pacific (26-5) vs. No. 7 Cal State Stanislaus (21-8)
5:00 p.m. No. 4 Chico State (22-7) vs. No. 5 Cal Baptist (24-3)
7:30 p.m. No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino (23-4) vs. No. 8 Chaminade (19-12)
Saturday, March 15 (Regional Semifinals)
Game 5 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 5 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 17 (Regional Championship)
Game 7 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 7 p.m.
• Pacific Standard Times listed for all games
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