A monster showing for the Artie Classic as all seven teams once again place in a postseason tourney. With two #2 seeds, a 6, a 9, an 11 and a 13 in the NT, and the top overall seed in the Postseason Invitational, we are once again the Pre-Eminent and Only D3 Out-Of-Conference Tournament in the Allen World!
The Artie Classic once again boasts depth among it's tournament participants as the average Artie Classic school had a 27 RPI and played against the 32nd toughest schedule.
Here's how they stand individually:
Norwich Cadets, 19-10 ovr, 14-2 in the Great NE
After a tough out of conference slate which saw the Cadets beat 2 NT participants in the AC, but finish with a modest 3-7 record, Norwich had run of the Great NE, winning 14 of 16. Unfortunately, the two losses came to the same team, Johnson and Wales, the same team that the Cadets matched against a third time in the Conference Tournament final, and losing for a third time. The Cadets found themselves just barely on the outside looking in for an at large bid as Norwich was the top team in the Last Four Out. This, however, leaves the Cadets with the top overall seed in the Postseason Invitational, to which they bring a balanced attack where eight players average between 6.4 and 9.6 ppg. Coach nickragland and the Cadets will hope to ride their strong rebounding, 3 pt defense and FT advantages to a deep PIT run.
Methodist Monarchs, 27-2 ovr, 16-0 in the USA South
Methodist finishes a dominant regular season which saw it's team finish third in the country in Average Point Differential while placing in the top 25 in Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals, and lead the country in 3 point shooting. The Monarchs only two losses this season are to current East Bracket #'s 1 and 2, Dickinson and Dominican. The East bracket is where we find the Monarchs as the number 6 seed, facing off with Upstate Conference bubble-rider Brandeis in a 6-11 matchup sure to keep veteran coach zwatts82 up late preparing tonight.
Puget Sound Loggers, 20-9 ovr, 14-2 in the Northwest
Another Artie Classic participant who weathered the fire of the gauntlet to come into their conference tournament ready to fight, the Loggers pulled off a 14-2 run in the Northwest Conference, and rode their always stellar defense to the Conference Tournament Title, averaging only 49 pts allowed per game throughout and only 51 in their win in the final over NT participant Pacific. Coach bbscottsdale enters the NT with the Loggers as the #11 seed in the West where they will face off against Ohio Conf champion Marietta.
Loras Duhawks, 23-6 ovr, 16-0 in the Iowa IAC
Coach bisoneer and the Duhawks ride a 22 game winning streak into the NT, including a run to the Iowa IAC Conference Tournament Title where they scored 95 points per game. Scoring is nothing new for the always offensively talented Duhawks, and they rode their strong offense to the number 7 Point Differential in the country this season. Like Methodist, this is another AC team which is probably underseeded. The Duhawks will ride into the Midwest bracket at the #9 seed where they face off against Upstate Conference mainstay Case Western who is upset about being upset in their Conf tourney. The Duhawks enter the tournament with the higher RPI, but the lower seed...should be a good one.
Texas, Tyler Patriots 24-5 ovr, 15-1 in the S. Cal
Once again, coachucla has his Patriots running on full steam heading into the NT. Last season's NT Runner-Up fought through a 5 loss season facing the fifth toughest schedule in the country before winning the S. Cal tournament final against NT participant CSU, Eastbay and grabbing the #2 seed in the Midwest Bracket. The Patriots always stingy defense hope to take them on a deep tournament run, starting with Sim coached Coast Conference Champion Colby-Sawyer in their 2-15 matchup.
West Connecticut State Colonials 20-9 ovr, 13-3 in the Little E.
The Colonials were able to avenge an earlier in conference defeat to Rhode Island in the Conference Tournament Finals, holding their opponent to 40 points in the win. This defense nothing new to the Colonials, who have the #2 pts against defense, and give up the fewest rebounds in the country. W. Connecticut State, underseeded as a 13 in the Midwest, have a tough first round opponent in Minn. IAC's St. Mary's, losers in their Conference Tourney, but a perennial heavyweight.
Dominican Stars 28-1 ovr, 15-1 in the St. Louis
The Stars and Coach artie40 avenged an earlier defeat to fellow NT participant Greenville College in the Conference Tourney final to nab the number 2 seed in the East bracket of the National Tournament where they'll face off against Freedom Conf winner Carnegie-Mellon. The Stars are coming off of the best regular season in team history with the #17 Point Differential, and the #6 pts against defense and hope to make a deep run.
Possible AC Rematches!
Texas, Tyler, Loras and West Connecticut State are all in the Midwest Bracket. Loras and West Connecticut State would meet first in the Sweet 16, and the winner of that game could face Texas, Tyler in the Elite 8.
Dominican and Methodist are both in the East and could see each other in the Sweet 16, in what would be a rematch of this season's de facto AC championship game.