Orediggers earn top seed in Central Region
When he took the job at Colorado School of Mines 11 years ago, Pryor Orser knew he had some work to do.
“I have a whole lot of belief in my players. I really believe anything is possible and when I came here to Mines it was probably not a very exciting job per se,” Orser said Saturday after the Orediggers won the RMAC Shootout title 63-47 over Colorado Mesa University.
“But you just believe in what you do and go to the grindstone and work and believe in what you’re doing.”
That work paid off with the second-ranked Orediggers (27-2) earning the No. 1 seed in this week’s NCAA Division II Central Region tournament.
The eight-team regional features three RMAC schools and opens play Saturday at Lockridge Arena in Golden.
“We took care of business and that’s what we had to do,” Orser said before it became official that the tournament would be in Golden. “It’s historic for us and it’s great for Colorado School of Mines and great for Golden, but it’s also great for our conference.”
The Orediggers play Augustana (S.D.) in the first round, with the other two RMAC teams facing off, second-seeded Metro State and No. 7 Adams State, both of which were upended in the first round of the RMAC Shootout, the Roadrunners by Colorado Mesa University.
Southwest Minnesota is the No. 4 seed and plays Minnesota Moorhead in the top half of the bracket with Mines and Augustana. Bemidji State faces St. Cloud State, with that winner playing either Metro or Adams State.
Winona State (Minn.), ranked second in the region at 25-5, was left out of the tournament, a result of an NCAA penalty for using an ineligible player this season.
As expected, Wayne State (Neb.) received the No. 1 seed in the women’s Central Region and will host that tournament, with three RMAC teams in the running.
Metro State, despite being upset by Western State in the RMAC Shootout semifinals, drew the No. 2 seed and plays Minnesota Duluth in the first round. Fort Lewis, the RMAC tourney champion, is seeded third and plays Mary, with CSU-Pueblo seeded fifth and playing Augustana. Minnesota State-Mankato is the No. 8 seed.