The Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball team plays for a trip to Division II’s Elite Eight tonight when they Minnesota State-Moorhead in Sioux Falls, SD. The two teams opened the 2014-15 season at Bearcat Arena in Maryville, Mo., with MSU-Moorhead winning, 75-66. It was the lone non-conference loss for Northwest on the season.
Ball handling and taking care of the basketball will be the key tonight for two teams that post some very stingy numbers. Northwest has committed an MIAA low 9.3 turnovers per game. Entering the weekend, only one team had numbers better than the Bearcats in that category, MSU-Moorhead. The Dragons average an NCAA-low 8.6 turnovers per game. However,
in the past three games they have turned the ball over 10, 15 and 12 times, respectively.
In the game back on Nov. 14, the two teams were tied at 51-51 with 7:26 left in the second half before the Dragons pulled away, finishing the game on a 24-15 run. Northwest shot just 31.4 percent (22-of-70) in the game but did force 11 turnovers.
With 25 wins, head coach Ben McCollum has now set his personal best for victories in a season. Last year, Northwest went 24-9 en route to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. It is the fourth-straight 20+ win season for McCollum, who was named the MIAA Co-Head Coach of the Year after leading the Bearcats to the outright MIAA regular season title.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in Evansville, Ind. Games are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 25. The winner of the Central bracket will play the winner of the Midwest bracket, which features top seeded Bellarmine against No. 3 seed Indianapolis.
Information courtesy of Bearcatsports.com