Tech Looks to Create Its Own "Dome Magic"

“Dome Magic” is painted in large letters in four different places near the scoreboards at D.L. Ligon Coliseum in Wichita Falls, Texas. It’s a proud declaration of the home-court advantage that the Midwestern State Mustangs enjoy.

Arkansas Tech will try to break the Mustangs’ spell and topple the two-time defending region champions when the nationally 15th-ranked Wonder Boys (26-5) tangle with nationally fifth-ranked Midwestern State (28-3) in the championship game of the NCAA Division II Tournament South Central Regional on Tuesday night.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 p.m. on KWKK 100.9 FM.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

Midwestern State has won 81 percent of its home men’s basketball games since D.L. Ligon Coliseum opened in 1969. The Mustangs are 58-1 in their last 59 home games, and they are 16-0 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum this season.

MSU has averaged more than 4,300 fans per game for its wins over St. Mary’s University (62-54 on Saturday) and Washburn University (72-63 on Sunday) during the regional.

Nothing gets those 4,300 fans in the game quite like a slam dunk, and Midwestern State provides its fans with plenty of opportunities to get excited. Fourteen percent of the Mustangs’ made field goals this season have been slam dunks. The alley-oop has been a staple of the MSU offense during its wins over St. Mary’s and Washburn.

“One thing we’ve noticed is that not a lot of teams have put much pressure on the ball to try to stop that lob play,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Doug Karleskint (photographed). “We can’t let the passer get a good look at the rim, and we’ve got to be physical with their cutters. They hurt Washburn on the back side of the zone. We’ve got to know personnel and who they like to throw it to.”

Midwestern State is led by All-NCAA Division II South Central Region performer Michael Loyd. The senior guard is averaging 12.8 points and 3.6 assists per game. Loyd had 21 points and five assists in the Mustangs’ regional semifinal win over Washburn.

The Wonder Boys have their own all-region senior guard in Johnie Davis. He averages 19.8 points per contest.

Arkansas Tech has already defeated two Lone Star Conference teams during the NCAA South Central Regional. The Wonder Boys topped West Texas A&M 79-68 in the opening round on Saturday. Tech made it to its first NCAA Division II regional final by defeating Tarleton State 64-63 in overtime on Sunday.

Junior center Will Paul has been Arkansas Tech’s top scorer in both of its 2012 NCAA Tournament games. He had 16 points against West Texas A&M and 19 points against Tarleton State. The Stanford transfer grabbed seven rebounds in both games.

The Wonder Boys will try to go 3-for-3 against the LSC and earn their first berth in the NCAA Elite Eight, but to do it they will have to beat a team that Karleskint compares to an NCAA Division I opponent that Arkansas Tech visited earlier this season.

“Midwestern State, because of their depth, will be the best team we have faced so far in the regional,” said Karleskint. “They actually remind me of the Texas A&M team we faced back in December. They are that strong, that physical and they have that much length. It’s going to be a great challenge. Our guys play well on the road. We come focused and locked in for these situations. Hopefully we’ll have another one of those performances.”

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech men’s basketball.