Mavs drop to No. 2 in regional rankings

No smiles greeted the South Central Region rankings Wednesday, which were released just as basketball practice ended at Brownson Arena.

Colorado Mesa dropped to No. 2 in the regional poll, once again behind West Texas A&M, with only one weekend left before the women’s NCAA Division II Selection Sunday.

The Mavericks’ loss at Fort Lewis cost them the top spot and, for the moment, the host spot for the regional tournament, despite having a better overall and in-region record than the Buffs.

At 26-1, the Mavericks are 24-1 in games that count toward the regional criteria. West Texas entered Wednesday night’s Lone Star Conference quarterfinal game 24-2 overall, 20-2 within regional play and 22-2 in all games against Division II opponents.

West Texas defeated Cameron 64-53 in the quarterfinals at Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas, on Wednesday night, with the semifinals Friday and championship game Saturday.

Tarleton State, the No. 3 team in the region, advanced to the Lone Star semifinals with a relatively easy 84-55 win over Texas A&M Commerce. The TexAnns handed West Texas a loss three weeks ago, which helped CMU vault into the No. 1 spot in the region after starting out second.

CSU-Pueblo is ranked fourth in the region, followed by Texas A&M International, St. Mary’s, Fort Lewis and Texas Woman’s University. Midwestern State and Colorado Christian are on the outside looking in as Nos. 9 and 10.

Fort Lewis’ upset of the Mavericks last weekend helped the Skyhawks move into the top eight, but their quarterfinal loss to Black Hills State on Tuesday could hurt them, depending on what happens in the RMAC, Lone Star and Heartland conference tournaments this week.

Eight teams — three conference tournament champions and five at-large teams — receive bids to the South Central Region tournament March 14-17. The regional champion advances to the Division II Elite Eight, which begins March 26 in Erie, Pa.


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