LEVELLAND, Texas — Trips to the NJCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Championship is becoming a regular thing for former Miami Wardog and longtime South Plains College head coach Steve Green.

This will be the Texans’ eighth trip to Hutchinson, Kansas, under Green, who was a member of MHS’ 1972 state championship team.

“We’ve been inconsistent this year,” he said. “We finally came around at the end and started to play pretty good. We’ve really had an up-and-down season, all sorts of injuries and stuff. We haven’t had our team intact for only two or three games at a time.

“We have had some kids step up over the course of the season,” he said. “You would like to go to the best tournament with your best players and all of them. We will see what happens.”

The tournament’s 13th seed, the Texans faced Highland (Illinois) Community College Monday night in the first round at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

South Plains earned an automatic berth thanks to a 101-92 win over Odessa College on March 10 in the Region V title game in Wolfforth, Texas.

“We finally started rebounding the ball pretty well, so we’ve got to keep doing that and then just not turn the ball over,” said Green, in his 18th season at South Plains. “We’re pretty good shooters.”

Indian Hills pulled down the No. 1 seed for the tournament and Northwest Florida State is No. 2.

Connors State College will represent Region II. The Cowboys topped Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 73-63 March 10 in Shawnee.

His father, Cletus, was a longtime coach of the Golden Norsemen.

“There are couple teams that probably have got a leg up based on their regular season, but it’s pretty wide open, I think,” Steve Green said.

South Plains has won seven of its last eight outings including wins against No. 20 McLennan and seventh-ranked Odessa.

The Texans entered the national tournament with a 23-8 record and average 80.3 points per game.

“You just never know,” said Green, who was inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015. “We would just like to have a good showing.”

Green said he stays in touch with several of his former Wardog teammates.