SHAWNEE — Defending champion Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College received the No. 4 seed for the annual Men’s Division I Region II Basketball Tournament which starts Wednesday at Shawnee’s St. Gregory’s University.
Connors State College of Warner earned the top seed in the single elimination after winning the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Cowboys avoided finishing in a tie for the lead last Thursday with a 107-99 win over Eastern State College in Wilburton.
Two play-in games will be completed Monday to determine teams in the seventh and eighth seeds of the tournament.
No. 12 seed Arkansas Baptist College of Little Rock (21-8) faces No. 9 seed Western State College at 5:30 p.m. in Altus. The Pioneers finished 6-10 in the conference and 19-11 overall.
No. 11 seed Murray State College (4-12 and 7-16) has a 5:30 p.m. Monday game in El Reno against No. 10 seed Redlands State College (5-11 and 17-12).
Top ranked Connors will face the Redlands-Murray winner at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Gregory's Don Sumner Field House.
Connors carries a 13-3 OCAC record and a 23-6 season mark into Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
Because of their overall record, the Cowboys also earned an automatic bid to the NJCAA Men’s Division I National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Should the Cowboys win the Region II Tournament along with the regular season conference title, the OCAC team with the second-best winning conference percentage would receive the Region II berth to the national tournament.
It will be the Cowboys' 13th trip to the national tournament and ninth under head coach Bill Muse’s guidance. Muse currently has a career record of 587-218 for a winning percentage of .701 in 25 seasons. He has also won 14 conference championships during his tenure at Connors.
No. 2 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (12-4 and 19-8) plays at 8 p.m. Wednesday against the Western-Arkansas Baptist winner.
NEO earned the No. 4 seed (8-8 and 16-13) and squares off at 3 p.m. Wednesday against No. 4 seed Seminole State College (8-8 and 18-9).
Last year the Golden Norsemen defeated Northern Oklahoma-Enid 88-69, Connors, 89-79 and Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa 72-68 for the Region II title.
No. 3 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa (10-6 and 21-9) plays at 6 p.m. Wednesday against No. 6 seed Eastern State (6-10 and 17-11).
The men’s semifinals are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday followed by the regional championship at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Each of the 16 regional champions receive an automatic bid to the March 20-25 Men’s Division I NJCAA National Tournament in the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kansas. Four zone qualifying teams receive automatic bids to the tournament along with four at-large teams.