THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS TAKE A FALL – All the members of the 2013 Final Four in D2 were 1 seeds as it turned out. The DRURY UNIVERSITY PANTHERS rose up and toppled the WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY VIKINGS, the defending champions. Alex Hall – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Assassin – was the star once again with his season-high 35 points as he led the Panthers to their first ever appearance in the championship game on April 7th. Drury as a team shot 57.6% and won their 22nd game in a row, a program record. The defending champion Vikings found themselves trailing 50-32 by halftime. Ultimately Drury advanced by notching a Century Club-level 107 points to the 97 put up by Western Washington.
THE TOP SEED TAKES A FALL – The other battle of 1 seeds also resulted in an upset. The METRO STATE ROADRUNNERS surprised the overall top seeded WEST LIBERTY UNIVERSITY HILLTOPPERS. The Roadrunners lived up to their name with a very fast start, opening up the game with a 15-2 run. The Hilltoppers were playing catchup the rest of the way as Metro State made basket after basket while simultaneously shutting down West Liberty, which had boasted the nation’s best offense coming into the game. A 41-28 Roadrunner lead at the break kept expanding in the 2nd half, but the Hilltoppers kept whitting it down to a 1 point advantage, only to see Metro State pull away yet again. In the end the Roadrunners won 83-76. On April 7th they try for their third national championship and their first since 2002.