Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MSU men stay at No. 1 in region

Despite Saturday's loss to Concordia-St. Paul, the Minnesota State men's basketball team remained atop the NCAA Division II Central Region rankings, which were released Wednesday.

Colorado School of Mines jumped up to No. 2, followed by Fort Lewis, Mary, Augustana, Fort Lewis, Mesa State and New Mexico Highlands.

The Mavericks probably need to win the final three regular-season games against Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State and Southwest Minnesota State, all on the road to stay at No. 1. Minnesota State might also have to win a couple games in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament.

Te Mavericks had a similar loss last year, falling at home to Augustana near the end of the regular season. Minnesota State then lost to Southwest in the opening round of the conference tournament but held onto the top ranking in the region and hosted the regional tournament.

Can the Mavericks take another loss? Probably not. Mines and Fort Lewis play each other this week so that eliminates one of those teams from jumping to No. 1. However, the winner seriously increases its schedule strength.

It would be best for the Mavericks to win these next three games, all against teams from the bottom half of the Northern Sun. That's something Minnesota State controls.

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