Tech, UCM to Meet in NCAA 1st Round will have the play-by-play description. When Arkansas Tech qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in 2009, it was the Wonder Boys’ first national tournament berth since reaching the NAIA National Tournament for the final time in 1996. Tech made three national tournament appearances in men’s basketball (1970, 1995 and 1996) from 1964-2008. Fast forward to 2014 and Arkansas Tech is one of just seven NCAA Division II men’s basketball programs to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last six seasons. The others are Bellarmine University, Florida Southern College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Metropolitan State University, Midwestern State University and Seattle Pacific University. The string of six consecutive national tournament berths is the longest for the Arkansas Tech men’s basketball program since it made seven straight trips to the NAIA National Tournament from 1950-56. Both Arkansas Tech and Central Missouri ventured to Mankato, Minn., for the 2013 NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional. Both sides are hoping for a different outcome in 2014. Tech dropped an 81-65 decision to Minnesota State University-Mankato in last year’s first round, while Central Missouri suffered a 75-71 loss to Harding University in the 2013 NCAA Tournament opening round. The Wonder Boys return to Mankato as the No. 7 seed for this year’s event, while the Mules are seeded No. 2 in the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional and ranked No. 20 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II top 25 poll. Arkansas Tech is led in scoring by senior guard Bobby Hatchett (11.9 points per game), junior forwards Marshawn Arnold (10.3 points per game) and Darrick Little (9.5 points per game) and junior guard Tyler Friedel (9.5 points per game). The Wonder Boys lead the GAC in scoring defense (67.2 points allowed per game) and field goal percentage defense (.412) this season. Central Missouri’s top scorers are junior center Dillon Deck (13.8 points per game), senior guard Daylen Robinson (12.8 points per game) and senior forward Charles Hammork (12.2 points per game). The Mules lead the MIAA in scoring defense (68.2 points allowed per game) and field goal percentage defense (.420) this season. Other first-round games at the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional on Saturday will pit No. 3 seed Missouri Southern State University (24-5) against No. 6 seed Fort Hays State University (22-7) at noon, top-seeded Minnesota State-Mankato (29-4) against eighth-seeded Harding University (15-14) at 5 p.m. and No. 4 seed Winona State University (26-7) against No. 5 seed Northwest Missouri State University (22-8) at 7:30 p.m. The regional semifinals are scheduled for Sunday, March 16, and the regional championship game will be played on Tuesday, March 18. The region champion will advance to the NCAA Elite Eight, which will by played March 26-29 in Evansville, Ind.]]>