Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Southwest shocks MSU men in tourney opener

Southwest Minnesota State shot better than 60 percent and defeated Minnesota State 80-78 in the quarterfinals of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball tournament Wednesday at Bresnan Arena.
The loss keeps the Mavericks from hosting the tournament's final four Saturday and Sunday and puts into jeopardy the chances of hosting the Central Region tournament the following weekend.
The Mavericks were still ranked No.1 in the region before Wednesday's loss, and No. 2 Mesa State and No. 3 Augustana have also lost this week. That means the Mavericks will hold up as the top seed and host unless St. Cloud State, which is now hosting the conference tournament, jumps up from No. 4 by winning two more games. That kind of jump this late in the season seems unlikely.
But the Mavericks have lost three of the last five games, including the last two home games, and certainly any swagger or confidence the team had has vanished. Minnesota State has been beaten by more physical teams, and the execution at crunch time has been poor.
What looked like a promising March run has turned into a nightmare of losses, and if nothing else, the region has shown to be wide open.

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