September 22, 2018

COLUMN: Here’s why I give the TexAnns at least a puncher’s chance

LCU, TSU meeting for seventh time over eight seasons, have eight common foes

Courtesy Tarleton Athletics

By  BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com

Tarleton State isn’t just a No. 8 seed visiting a No. 1 seed as South Central Region Championship action gets ready to tip off at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock today.

Tarleton is taking on the second-highest rated team – many believe – in the entire NCAA Division II Women’s Championship.

Of course Tarleton does have one advantage often unique to Division II and the regionalization theory that guides – or misguides, if you ask me – the setup of the opening three rounds of the national playoffs.

The TexAnns are an invited team that got in based on their body of work, which truthfully is higher praise than winning the right three games to get in with automatic access as a conference tournament champion the way the did last year.

But the real advantage, unlike 16 seeds that never – hardly ever, anyway – face anything resembling a 1 seed until March Madness gets started, Tarleton has faced Lubbock Christian in six of the past eight seasons, including a 80-60 loss at Rip Griffin Center earlier this season.

Junior guard/forward McKinley Bostad. || Courtesy Tarleton Athletic Communications

A 20-point loss may not be the best thing to build on for head coach Misty Wilson, who enters the tournament for the second time as a head coach, but for the seventh if you consider her five

straight appearances from 2010-2014 assisting her predecessor, Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame member Ronnie Hearne.

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That in itself is a second reason the TexAnns have should be given at least a punchers’ chance, because unlike – most the time – a 16 seed in the big dance, Tarleton is familiar with the Division II championship. It’s starting to reach a point of program readiness, if such a term is truly anything more than a mental obstacle.

The TexAnns are familiar with the opponent. And while there is certainly more than a healthy level of respect there, we have seen this TexAnn team lose by more than 20 to West Texas A&M at home and beat the Lady Buffs on the road. It was 20 points, not 45. They do compete on the same level. Even if the home team is ranked at the very top of it.

A third one for you – yes even with LCU’s only loss being to No. 1 Ashland (Ohio), Tarleton, top to bottom, has played a more difficult schedule. Last year this tournament came down to WTAMU and Angelo State, teams Tarleton was 2-2 against this season. Those teams aren’t too shabby this year, either, considering WTAMU is the No. 2 seed and ASU the No. 4. Looking at the way the bracket sets up, I’d say you also have at least a puncher’s chance of a Lone Star Conference team surprising everyone and winning this thing again this weekend.

Yes, it would take a big upset of LCU, but hey, it’s March, don’t you know this is when hoop go cray cray and good teams get stun-stunned?

Nobody had Tarleton winning the LSC tourney last year, but guess what?

Would it be the biggest win in Tarleton basketball history if the TexAnns pull it off? With all due respect to some really special NAIA teams that had long national playoff runs and the Hearne-led teams of 2010-11 and 2013-13 that provided Tarleton its only NCAA tournament wins to date, I say yes.

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#1 LUBBOCK CHRISTIAN (28-1)
No. 1 Colorado St.-Pueblo 57-52 W
Metro State (Colo.) 71-53 W
@Texas A&M-Commerce  74-39 W
Western New Mexico 85-44 W
Texas-Permian Basin 72-34 W
Tarleton State 80-60 W
^No. 1 Ashland 79-66 L
^Midwestern State 65-57 W
Southwest (Minn,) 79-47 W
Arkansas-Fort Smith 67-62 W
#14/#19 Southwestern Oklahoma St. 95-65 W
Cameron (Okla.) 67-54 W
@Eastern New Mexico 64-55 W
St. Mary’s 76-42 W
@Roger State (Okla.) 70-38 W
St. Edward’s 64-31 W
Oklahoma Christian 78-69 W
@Newman (Tenn.) 73-66 W
@Arkansas-Fort Smith 62-54 W
St. Mary’s 64-39
@Texas A&M-International 69-46 W
Rogers State 82-38 W
Newman (Tenn.) 70-56 W
@Oklahoma Christian 73-66 W
@St. Edward’s 65-52 W
*Texas A&M-International 78-42
*Oklahoam Christain 80-61 W
*Arkansas-Fort Smith 69-61 W

#8 Tarleton State (20-10)
Western State 71-50 W
St. Mary’s 59-56 W
^Central Oklahoma 61-53 L
^Regis (Colo.) 55-42 W
@Lubbock Christian 80-60 L
@Midwestern State 66-56 L
@Cameron (Okla.) 70-63 L
Western New Mexcico 87-61 W
Eastern New Mexico 78-72 (OT) L
Arkansas-Fort Smith 67-63 W
Arlington Baptist 104-52
Southeastern Oklahoma St 60-49 W
Angelo State 72-56 W
Texas A&M-Kingsville 60-43 W
@Texs A&M-Commerce 68-62 L
@Texas Woman’s 71-67 W
@#8 West Texas A&M 66-64 W
@Texas-Permian Basin 58-45 W
Cameron 86-81 W
Midwestern State 86-81 W
@Eastern New Mexcio 64-59 L
@Western New Mexico 70-64 W
@Texas A&M-Kingsville 63-59 W
@ Angelo Stae 68-59 L
Texas A&M-Commerce 68-53 W
Texas Woman’s 77-69 (OT) L
Texas_Permian Basin 65-49 W
West Texas A&M 87-60 L
^Eastern NewMexico 83-61 W
^Angelo State 72-56 W
^West Texas A&M 80-66 L

 

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