WAYNE – Just a couple weeks after the Wayne State College men’s basketball team had to withdraw from the NSIC/Sanford Health Conference Tournament, the team learned they’ll continue with a March Madness opportunity this weekend.
According to NCAA.com selection Sunday, the Wildcat men earned the #4 seed with their 11-6 record and will face NSIC North Division Foe, #5 MSU Moorhead (10-4). The game is scheduled for Saturday, March 13 at 6 p.m.
The Wayne State College men’s basketball team held a players-only watch party along with Director of Athletics Mike Powicki at Gardner Hall.
Head coach Jeff Kaminsky said it was sweet to see the team’s reaction and happiness when they saw Wayne State (NE) on the screen.
“We have a really good group of guys and that’s one thing, not just winning, but winning with guys that have a great approach,” said Kaminsky. “Great work ethic and are really team very oriented; it’s been a special group that way.”
The ‘Cats were scheduled to face MSU Moorhead in the conference semifinals on Saturday, February 27 but were unable to play due to COVID-19 protocols. WSC won their first game in the NSIC Tournament over St. Cloud State 73-70 on Thursday, February 25. A few staff members had tested positives but none of the players.
Conference champions of Northern State (NSIC) and Washburn (MIAA) earned automatic berths while at-large bids went to Wayne State College and MSU Moorhead of the NSIC along with Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western (MIAA). Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota will be the NCAA Division II Central Regional host.
The 2018-19 WSC team was in the same spot of looking to make the regional tournament, but came up just short. Coach Kaminsky added it’s hard to make a regional tournament.
“We’re proud to represent our conference and really proud to represent our school and the City of Wayne,” Kaminsky added. “It’s a tough thing to do especially in our league. Our league is so competitive that you can be very good and not have this opportunity.”
After going through a self-quarantine this last week, Sunday was the first day that the entire team was back and tested negative three times (PCR tests).
The Wildcat Sports Network will have coverage of postseason men’s basketball action. Pregame coverage will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Big Red Country ‘KTCH’ 104.9 and waynedailynews.com in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
This marks just the third time ever and first in 21 years that WSC has made the NCAA DII Tournament. Wayne State also qualified for the NCAA Division II National Tournament in 1999, hosting the North Central Regional, while also making the post season the following season in 2000 advancing to the regional title game before falling to Metro State.
Complete NCAA DII National Tournament bracket.
Saturday, March 13:
#4 Wayne State College (11-6) vs. #5 MSU Moorhead (10-4)
#3 Washburn (19-6) vs. #6 Missouri Western (14-10)
Sunday, March 14:
#1 Northern State (18-1) vs. WSC/MSU Moorhead winner
#2 Northwest Missouri State (23-2) vs. winner of Washburn/Missouri Western winner
Tuesday, March 16:
Central Regional Championship game