Tahlequah Daily Press

March 6, 2014

Inside the MIAA

A weekly look at basketball in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

By BEN JOHNSON
Sports Editor

— Final standings

Team    Conf. Ovr

Men    W-L    W-L

Central Mo.    16-3    24-4

NW Missouri St.    16-3    21-7

Mo. Southern    15-4    21-5

Fort Hays St.    13-6    22-6

Central Okla.    11-8    18-9

Washburn    10-9    17-10

Emporia State    10-9    18-12

Neb. Kearney    10-9    15-12

Northeastern St. 9-10    15-12

SW Baptist    7-12    14-15

Lindenwood    6-13    11-19

Mo. Western    5-14    10-18

Pittsburg St.    4-15    8-18

Lincoln    1-18    3-24



Team    Conf. Ovr

Women    W-L    W-L

Central Mo.    17-2    23-3

Emporia St.    16-3    25-3

Pittsburg St.    16-3    23-6

Mo. Southern    13-6    19-7

Fort Hays St.    12-7    20-7

Washburn    11-8    16-11

Lindenwood    9-10    14-13

Northeastern St.  7-12    11-16

NW Missouri St.    7-12    10-17

Central Okla.    6-13    12-15

SW Baptist    6-13    12-15

Neb. Kearney    6-13    10-17

Mo. Western    5-14    10-16

Lincoln    2-17    5-21





Women

Monday - first round (at campus sites)

Game 1: No. 9 Northeastern State 47, No. 8 NW Missouri St. 42

Game 2: No. 5 Fort Hays State 88, No. 12 Neb. Kearney 68

Game 3: No. 11 SW Baptist 85, No. 6 Washburn 73

Game 4: No. 10 Central Oklahoma 85, No. 7 Lindenwood 79

At Municipal Auditorium (Kansas City, Mo.)

Thursday - quarterfinals

Game 5: No. 1 Central Missouri vs. No. 9 NSU, noon

Game 6: No. 4 Mo. Southern vs. No. 5 Fort Hays St. 2:15 p.m.

Game 7: No. 2 Emporia St. vs. No. 10 Central Okla., 6 p.m.

Game 8: No. 3 Pittsburg St. vs. No. 11 SW Baptist, 8:15 p.m.

Saturday - semifinals

Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, noon

Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2:15 p.m.

Sunday - finals

Game 11: Championship, 1 p.m.







Men

Tuesday - first round (at campus sites)

Game 1: No. 9 Northeastern State 79, No. 8 Washburn 75

Game 2: No. 5 Central Okla. 74, No. 12 Mo. Western 57

Game 3: No. 6 Neb. Kearney 86, No. 11 Lindenwood 80

Game 4: No. 7 Emporia St. 96, No. 10 SW Baptist 85

At Municipal Auditorium (Kansas City, Mo.)

Friday - quarterfinals

Game 5: No. 1 Central Missouri vs. No. 9 Northeastern State, noon

Game 6: No. 4 Fort Hays State vs. No. 5 Central Oklahoma, 2:15 p.m.

Game 7: No. 2 NW Missouri St. vs. No. 7 Emporia St., 6 p.m.

Game 8: No. 3 Mo. Southern vs. No. 6 Neb. Kearney, 8:15 p.m.

Saturday - semifinals

Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 8:15 p.m.

Sunday - finals

Game 11: Championship, 3:30 p.m.





Men

Tournament favorite

Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats led the league pretty much wire to wire until Central Missouri overtook them for the top spot on the final day of the regular season. Northwest Missouri State was 1-1 against Central Missouri, who is the tournament’s top seed and on the other side of the bracket. The Bearcats — with Emporia State in the tournament quarterfinals and likely Missouri Southern in the semifinals — has an easier road to the championship game than Central Missouri.



Tournament darkhorse

Central Oklahoma: Could easily throw Fort Hays State in this category, but the Bronchos and Tigers play each other in the first round, so one of the darkhorses will advance to the semifinals. Prior to a two-game losing streak (which included losses by a combined three points) to end the regular season, Central Oklahoma had won six straight games. The Bronchos coasted past Missouri Western in the opening round of the tournament, and Josh Gibbs (21. 1 points / 11.4 rebounds per game) is a hard player to stop for 40 minutes.



Players to watch

• Dillon Deck (Central Missouri): The Mules feature a balanced scoring effort, but 6-foot-9 post player, Dillon, Deck engineers the Mules’ attack from the inside.

• Bryton Hobbs (Northeastern State): Despite being the tournament’s No. 9 seed, the RiverHawks feature the top scorer in the league. Hobbs averages 22.6 points per contest.

• Craig Nicholson (Fort Hays State): At 17.7 points and 7.5 assists per game, the Tiger go as their point guard goes. If Nicholson has free reign in the league tournament, the Tigers could end up with the title.



Note

• Central Missouri enters the league tournament as the No. 1 team in the Central Region. The Mules are trailed by Minnesota State-Mankato. Missouri Southern (third), Northwest Missouri State (fourth), Fort Hays State (sixth) and Washburn (eighth) are in the top eight. However, Washburn figures to fall out after losing to NSU in the first round of the league tournament.





Women

Tourney favorite

Emporia State: Much like the men’s tournament, the team to beat in the women’s tournament could be the No. 2 seed. The Hornets — who have been ranked in the top 25 all season — have lost only three times this year, and two of those losses were to teams on the other side of the tournament bracket. Emporia State figures to blow out Central Oklahoma before getting a rematch in the semifinals against Pittsburg State, who beat the Hornets, 81-75, in Pittsburg, Kan., on Feb. 26.



Tourney darkhorse

Pittsburg State: While Emporia State figures to trump all others on a neutral court, Pittsburg State is the hottest team heading into the tournament with a 12-game winning streak. The last time the Gorillas lost was a 70-60 setback at Washburn on Jan. 18. Prior to that, Pittsburg State nearly upended Emporia State in a two-point loss at Emporia. Pittsburg State is on a roll and figures to give Emporia State a run for its money.



Players to watch

• Keuna Flax (Central Missouri): The league’s Player of the Year is averaging 20.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest. Flax is also second in the league in field goal percentage (56.4 percent).

• Late Lehman (Fort Hays State): What Lehman lacks on offense — and it isn’t much at 16.6 points per game — she makes up for on the defensive and rebounding departments. Lehman, the league’s Defensive Player of the Year has 145 blocks and is averaging 11.4 rebounds per game.

• Lizzy Jeronimus (Pittsburg State): As the Gorillas’ go-to scorer, Jeronimus is posting 18.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.



Notes

• Heading into the conference tournament, five MIAA teams are in the top 10 of the Central Region rankings. Emporia State is second and Central Missouri trails right behind at third. Pittsburg State (fifth), Fort Hays State (ninth) and Missouri Southern (10th) are also in the top 10. The top eight teams will make the NCAA tournament.