by Drury Athletics
Thanks to a Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament championship game appearance, a 12-game winning streak late in the season, and 14 victories in their last 17 games, the Drury Panthers are in the NCAA-II tournament for the second year in a row after receiving an at-large bid Sunday night.
Drury jumped from being ranked 10th in the region on March 6 to sixth in the final ranking that determined the tournament field.
The Panthers will play third-seeded Findlay (27-4), currently ranked sixth in the NCAA-II coaches’ poll, at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois on Saturday at noon. Saturday’s game will be a rematch of last year’s opening round national tournament game, also a #3 seed vs. a #6 seed match-up, won by the Oilers 84-65 in Big Rapids, Michigan.
Lewis is the top seed and host of the Midwest Regional, and the Flyers will take on eighth-seeded Grand Valley State in the first round. Second-seeded Bellarmine, the automatic qualifier from the GLVC, will face seventh-seeded Walsh on Saturday while number four Southern Indiana will play the fifth seed, Ashland, in the opening round.
Drury will be making their 12th NCAA-II national tournament appearance in program history and the Panthers own a 12-10 all-time record in the event with two regional titles and the 2013 Division II National Championship.
The winner of the Drury-Findlay game will play the winner of Bellarmine vs. Walsh on Sunday at 5 pm. The regional championship game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 at 7 pm. The winner of the Midwest Regional will advance to the NCAA-II Elite Eight March 27-30 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.
Saturday, March 16
Noon: No. 3 Findlay vs. No. 6 Drury
2:30 p.m.: No. 2 Bellarmine vs. No. 7 Walsh
5 p.m.: No. 1 Lewis vs. No. 8 Grand Valley
7:30 p.m: No. 4 Southern Indiana vs. No. 5 Ashland
Sunday, March 17
5 p.m.: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
7:30 p.m.: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Tuesday, March 19
7 p.m.: Championship Game