Even though they were co-champions of the regular season in the MIAA, the Fort Hays State men’s basketball team was left out of the eight-team Central Regional field of the 64-team NCAA Tournament. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference received four bids, while the MIAA and Great American Conference received two each.
Fort Hays State finished 20-8 overall, but mysteriously fell from eighth in the region rankings on February 20 to ninth the next week, to out of the top 10 entering the MIAA Tournament. Advancing to the semifinals of the MIAA Tournament was not enough to get the Tigers in this year, even though they reached 20 wins in a season for the seventh time under head coach Mark Johnson, which ties for most in school history with Bill Morse.
Central Missouri, co-champion of the regular season with FHSU, earned the automatic bid from the conference by winning the MIAA Tournament. Northeastern State received the other bid, even though it finished 19-8 overall and tied for third in the MIAA regular season. The Riverhawks lost in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Tournament.
Most baffling is the fact that two at-large bids were handed to a pair of 11-loss teams, Upper Iowa from the NSIC and Arkansas Tech from the Great American Conference. Arkansas Tech finished in a three-way tie for the GAC conference regular season title, but the champions of that conference were 13-7. FHSU and Central Missouri were 13-5 in conference play. Arkansas Tech had three non-conference losses outside its conference tournament, while FHSU had just two. All of Fort Hays State’s losses were to teams over .500, most being well over .500.
– FHSU Sports Information –