Arkansas Tech University's men's basketball program will begin its third NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in the last four years on Saturday, March 11, with a first-round match-up against Southwest Minnesota State University.
The Wonder Boys (21-7) and the Mustangs (26-5) will tip-off at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Bearcat Arena in Maryville, Mo. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage.
Arkansas Tech is back in the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence. The Wonder Boys made the field as an at-large selection after falling to the University of Arkansas-Monticello 88-79 in the Great American Conference Tournament semifinals.
Three men's basketball teams from the GAC --- ATU, UAM and East Central University --- made the NCAA Tournament, the most in one season in the six-year history of the conference.
Tech is the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional. The Wonder Boys have made 336 3-pointers this season to establish new single-season records in that category for Arkansas Tech and the GAC. Tech's 12 made 3-pointers per game are fourth-most in NCAA Division II this season.
The No. 2 seed in the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional, Southwest Minnesota State was Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division champion during the regular season. The Mustangs captured the NSIC Tournament title by defeating Upper Iowa University 71-58 on Feb. 28.
The Mustangs are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. It is the fourth NCAA Tournament berth in program history. Southwest Minnesota State won region championships and advanced to the NCAA Division II Men's Elite Eight in 2001 and 2009.
Saturday will mark the second all-time men's basketball meeting between Arkansas Tech and Southwest Minnesota State. The Mustangs won the only previous match-up 93-78 on Nov. 15, 2014.
The winner of the SMSU-Tech game will advance to a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 12, against either East Central University or Minnesota State University-Moorhead. The region championship game will be played at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14.
All games during the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional will be played at Bearcat Arena. The region champion will advance to the NCAA Division II Men's Elite Eight March 22-25 in Sioux Falls, S.D.