Beaver men snubbed by NCAA Division II selection committee
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State's red-hot men's basketball team was not selected Sunday night when the NCAA Division II tournament field was announced.
The Beavers lost to highly ranked Minnesota State Mankato Saturday in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament championship game. A win would have given BSU into the NSIC's automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. But first-year coach Mike Boschee and his players were still hopeful that a strong late-season record would be enough to join the 64-team post-season field.
Mankato was one of 22 conference champions to advance. The selection committee chose NSIC members Augustana, Upper Iowa and Winona State for at-large berths.
Bemidi State finished with 18 wins and 12 losses. But they won six straight games down the stretch before falling on Saturday. Two of those wins were over teams that made the NCAA tournament. The Beavers defeated Winona State on the Warriors' court in the conference tournament quarterfinals, then topped Upper Iowa in the semifinals Friday.
But that late success was not enough to sway the selection committee, and the Beavers saw their season come to an end Sunday night as they watched the tournament selection show.
After losing its head coach, the nation's player of the year and an all-region point guard, the expectations of BSU from outsiders was dim. The league coaches pegged the Beavers to finish tied for 12th in the NSIC. Bemidji State proved it was worthy to battle in one of the nation's toughest conferences and finished the 22-game league schedule with a 13-9 mark to finish as the No. 3 seed in the NSIC North.
Boschee set the BSU record for most wins by a first-year head coach, as the Beavers made a run to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Saturday – their first-ever run to the championship game. Bemidji State fell to No. 7 Minnesota State University, Mankato, 73-68 in the contest to fall just short of an automatic bid to the NCAA Central Region Tournament.
Seniors Dermaine Crockrell (G, Mesa, Ariz.) and Lance Rongstad (G/F, Eleva, Wis.) were named All-NSIC Second Team at the conclusion of the season, while Crockrell and senior Mason Walters (F, Milton, Wis.) were honored as All-NSIC Tournament TeamSaturday. BSU also graduates senior Jason Edwards (G, Phoenix, Ariz), who ran the point for BSU and started in the final 28 games of the season.