Going into the Great Plains Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament, I was convinced that Mount Marty would not get into the NAIA Division II Tournament without a quarterfinal win at Briar Cliff.
Now, after some number-crunching with the latest NAIA poll, I feel a little better about the Blue and Gold.
Mount Marty comes into this week ranked 20th in the nation. Though they will drop in the poll that comes out Wednesday, I don’t think they will drop much after a loss to No. 18 BC.
Here is what I see:
There are 12 at-large berths available, thanks to Morningside taking one of the GPAC’s automatic berths. Of those 12, six of those are spoken for with teams ahead of MMC: Sioux Falls (4), Black Hills State (9), Marian, Ind. (14), Iowa Wesleyan (16), Cedarville, Ohio (17) and BC (18).
Three more of those will also be spoken for, as there are three conference championships matching two teams that sit ahead of MMC: No. 5 Walsh vs. No. 11 Daemen, No. 6 Kansas Wesleyan vs. No. 13 Sterling, and No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan and No. 8 St. Francis, Ind.
Here’s where things get interesting. No. 1 Davenport (Mich) faces No. 23 Concordia of Michigan, and No. 12 St. Ambrose faces William Penn (receiving votes). No. 21 Valley City State faces Jamestown (RV).
That makes for two or three more potential teams ahead of MMC, which could mean that the Lancers will either by the last team in or the first team out. Since I doubt that Davenport is going down, I feel pretty good about the Lancers.
Jeremy Hoeck (@jhoeck) and I will tweet the pairings when they come out, and the Press & Dakotan will have coverage of the Lancers in the tournament.