Filling in the blanks: JC basketball teams find out opponentsBoth Jamestown College basketball teams earned trips to nationals last weekend. Wednesday, the who and when holes in the itinerary were filled. Neither team got a particularly friendly draw as it were, but neither coach was complaining.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Both Jamestown College basketball teams earned trips to nationals last weekend. Wednesday, the who and when holes in the itinerary were filled.
Neither team got a particularly friendly draw as it were, but neither coach was complaining.
The Jimmie women, which moved up to No. 12 in the final NAIA top 25 poll of the season, got a No. 4 seed in the field, which features four pods of eight teams. The Jimmies (26-5) will play fifth-seeded Menlo (26-3) of California Thursday, March 7 at 1:45 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa.
“To get where we want to go you have to beat everybody,” JC women’s coach Greg Ulland said. “We’re fired up to get started. It’s time to go to work.”
The men’s field features 16 seeded teams and 16 unseeded teams. The JC men also open Thursday, March 7 against Cardinal Stritch (30-3) of Wisconsin, the No. 2 team in the final poll, in Point Lookout, Mo. Game time is noon.
The only team seeded higher than Cardinal Stritch is No. 1 overall William Penn (30-1) of Iowa, which many will remember is the high-powered team the Jimmies nearly beat at the Civic Center back on Nov. 30 (78-75).
“It’s an old cliché, but everybody is good regardless of who you play,” JC men’s coach Justin Wieck said. “We’ve already played three or four top 10 teams, so why not play another.”
The Jimmie men (15-18) are coming off an impressive run through the A.I.I. tournament, which ended with a disappointing loss to Dakota State in the championship game, but was quite entertaining nonetheless. They sealed their trip to nationals with a win over 20-4 Rochester of Michigan, which got the No. 15 overall seed.
Wieck gave his team a couple days rest to get their legs back under them, but were back at it on Wednesday. Cardinal Stritch is perennially strong. They feature a Division I transfer from Wisconsin-Green Bay and also have a former teammate of JC point guard Breshion Tucker from when the two were together at Wayne State of Nebraska last year.
“We had an idea we might end up playing (CS). We don’t know a lot about them yet, but we’ll spend a lot of time the next couple days preparing,” Wieck said. “You’re not going to get a lot done once you get (to Branson), so we want to have a really good couple days of preparation and be ready when we leave on Sunday.”
The Jimmie women will leave Monday. A three seed would have seemed plausible, and possibly a little more fair, but it didn’t work out. If the Jimmies can get past Menlo, they’d likely face Eastern Oregon, which has a sparkling 31-2 record and is ranked third nationally.
“We’re happy with where we’re at. You don’t want to spend much energy worrying about seeding and the brackets because it’s kind of out of your control,” Ulland said. “We’ve been playing at a pretty high level the past few weeks. The girls are really excited about what’s ahead. … We’re hoping to get hot.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Briar Cliff of Iowa, a team the JC women beat, got a No. 3 seed. They also have two fewer wins and four more losses than the Jimmies. … Six former DAC teams are in the field. On the men’s side, 24th-ranked Valley City State (21-8) opens up against 11th-seeded Indiana Southeast (27-4) on March 6 at 5:45 p.m. It was a close call for the Vikings, who got the 10th and final at-large bid. … Dakota State (22-9), the A.I.I. tournament champs, play late Thursday night (March 7) against fifth-seeded Warner Pacific (27-6) of Oregon. … Ulland was happy for Mayville State and coach Dennis Hutter, who made the women’s field for the last time ever. The Comets (20-5) just snuck in as the last at-large team. They’ll be baptized by fire with an opener against three-time defending NAIA national champion Northwestern (23-7) on March 6. … The Valley City State women (24-7) are a six seed and take on Bethel, Ind. (25-7) March 6 at 3:30 p.m.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com