Tigers hold down top spot in second version of NCAA Regional Rankings

No. 4 Fort Hays State University was listed as the top ranked team for the second straight week in the NCAA Central Region Rankings, released Wednesday. One other version of the poll will be released next week leading up the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, held March 8. The top eight teams in the region advance to the NCAA Regionals, held March 13-15 at a site to be determined.

The Central Region is made up of teams from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the Great American Conference. Automatic bids are granted to the winners of the postseason conference tournaments, with the final five seeds handed out on an at-large basis.

The Tigers (24-2, 16-1 MIAA) are 20-2 against NCAA Division II teams on the year – with all matchups coming against regional opponents. FHSU is one of five teams listed in the rankings, joining Pittsburg State (No. 2), Emporia State (No. 3), Central Missouri (No. 9) and Missouri Southern (No. 10). Three teams from the NSIC are listed in the poll, with Wayne State (No. 4), Northern State (No. 6) and Minnesota State-Mankato (No. 8) representing the conference. Harding (No. 5) and Arkansas Tech (No. 8) are the GAC teams listed in the rankings.

Changes in this week’s poll saw Emporia State and Wayne State switch spots at third and fourth, respectively, while Harding moved up to No. 5 and Arkansas Tech slipped two spots to seventh. Additionally, Northern State moved up to sixth and Minnesota State-Mankato dropped to eighth. Augustana fell out of the rankings, replaced by Missouri Southern.

FHSU has wrapped up at least a share of the MIAA Regular Season Championship and holds a two-game lead over Pitt State with two games remaining. FHSU is one of three teams (PSU and ESU as well) to lock up a first round bye in the MIAA Tournament, held March 5-8. The top four teams in the conference standings guarantee themselves a spot in the MIAA quarterfinals in Kansas City, Mo.

FHSU is on the road this weekend to close the regular season, taking on Central Oklahoma this Thursday and Northeastern State on Saturday.

The complete NCAA Central Region Rankings for Feb. 25

Rank School DII Record In-Region Record
1 Fort Hays State 20-2 20-2
2 Pittsburg State 24-4 22-4
3 Emporia State 20-4 20-4
4 Wayne State (Neb.) 22-4 22-4
5 Harding 19-5 19-5
6 Northern State 20-6 20-6
7 Arkansas Tech 18-5 16-4
8 Minnesota State – Mankato 19-8 18-8
9 Central Missouri 17-8 15-8
10 Missouri Southern 16-6 16-6

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