* NCAA D2 ELITE EIGHT *
METRO STATE TO THE FINAL FOUR – NCAA Division Two’s tournament uses eight separate regions instead of four, so that means eight number 1 seeds. SEVEN of those 1 seeds made it to the Elite Eight in this year’s very odd “All chalk, all the time” tourney. The only non-1 seed was a 2 seed, so no Cinderellas for 2013. The (1) METRO STATE ROADRUNNERS advanced to the Final Four with a 78-65 victory over fellow 1 seeds the FRANKLIN PIERCE RAVENS. The Roadrunners “beep-beeped” their way past the Ravens with an astonising 16 to 2 run during the final four minutes of the game.
GIVE US WEST LIBERTY OR GIVE US DEATH – In what has become a Tournament of 1 Seeds the WINONA STATE WARRIORS stood out as a 2 seed in the Elite Eight. The WEST LIBERTY HILLTOPPERS battled the Warriors for the right to move on to the Final Four. Offense was no problem for either team and an 11-0 run to close out the 1st half put the Hilltoppers up 50-41 at the break. In the 2nd half West Liberty left Winona State coughing in their dust and led by as many as 31 points for a time. The game ended with the Hilltoppers having scored a Century Club- level 110 points to the 84 scored by the Warriors.
HEART OF A CHAMPION – The defending champions of D2 basketball, the WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY VIKINGS, squared off against the FLORIDA SOUTHERN MOCCASINS in another of the night’s battles between 1 seeds. The Vikings were all business and led by 17 at one point during the 1st half enroute to a 59-47 halftime lead. Five different Western Washington players scored in the double-digits in this game where the outcome was never seriously in doubt. When all the dust had settled the Vikings returned to the Final Four with a 96-82 victory over the hard-fighting Moccasins.
THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING – Alex Hall, Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Assassin – put up 33 points last night to lead the DRURY PANTHERS into the Final Four for the very first time in their program’s history! The Panthers outpaced their opponents, the SOUTH CAROLINA-AIKEN PACERS (see what I did there) with an early 17-4 lead. By halftime the Pacers had fought their way back to within 6 and at the break the score stood at 42-36, Drury. USC-Aiken kept up the pressure and just 4 minutes into the 2nd half had compiled a 50-46 lead. The Panthers retook the lead with 13 minutes left and never gave it back. The final score in this very memorable clash of 1 seeds was Panthers 84 Pacers 75.