Huskies come in at No. 9 in latest region rankings

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The St. Cloud State men’s basketball team still has hopes of extending its season after the latest Division II Central Region rankings came out Wednesday. The Huskies (20-8) were ranked ninth. The top eight teams in the final poll on Sunday night advance to the Central Region Tournament.

“I’m not surprised by where we’re at,” SCSU head coach Kevin Schlagel said. “With the way we’ve played the last two weeks of the season, I knew we were going to drop. Now we have to wait more and see what happens.”

The Huskies need a lot of help if they want to have a shot at making the postseason. The rankings have Minnesota State-Mankato in the top spot followed by Winona State, Augustana, Harding, Northeastern State, Upper Iowa, Central Missouri and Washburn.

Central Missouri and Washburn are both from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). They’re both playing in the MIAA Tournament quarterfinals today. Central Missouri takes on Pittsburg State at 6 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. Washburn will play Central Oklahoma at 8:15 at the same venue.

If one of those teams loses tonight, the Huskies have a better shot of making the region tournament.

“It’s kind of a coin flip right now,” Schlagel said. “I know one of the things the region committee looks at is if a team is healthy going into the playoffs. They take that into consideration. Obviously we lost (leading scorer) Theo (Rothstein) for the season.

“This is just an uneasy feeling. We’re not going to practice until we know we’re going to play again. This is a long time to be sitting around.”

St. Cloud State also has to hope that Bemidji State doesn’t win the NSIC Tournament. The Beavers, who aren’t in the region rankings, take on Upper Iowa at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in Rochester in a NSIC semifinal game. The winner of the conference tournament automatically qualifies for the region tournament. If Bemidji wins, the Huskies’ hopes will be dashed.

St. Cloud State players Jordan Poydras and Connor Niehaus are both doing individual workouts on their own this week while the team stays away from the court.

“Playing the waiting game isn’t fun,” Poydras said. “It feels like somebody has a string and is hanging it over our heads right now. Most of our guys are preparing like we’re going to play. We don’t know if we’re preparing for another game or for next season.”

Niehaus admitted he’ll be watching the selection show on Sunday night to see if the Huskies’ season continues.

“I’ll be checking the scores from the MIAA games,” Niehaus said. “You can kind of predict where you might be after you see what they do. I’ll be checking Sunday no matter what to see if we’re going to have practice on Monday. I absolutely hope we do. Hopefully we don’t have to wait all summer to play our next game.”

Here’s the complete region poll:

RK School (Conf) Overall In-Reg LW
1 Minnesota State (NSIC) 22-4 20-4 1
2 Winona State (NSIC) 24-7 20-6 2
3 Augustana (NSIC) 19-7 19-7 3
4 Harding (GAC) 18-8 18-8 6
5 Northeastern State (MIAA) 17-7 16-7 8
6 Upper Iowa (NSIC) 19-10 18-10 NR
7 Central Missouri (MIAA) 16-7 16-6 4
8 Washburn (MIAA) 16-7 16-7 5
9 St. Cloud State (NSIC) 18-8 16-8 7
10 Arkansas Tech (GAC) 15-10 15-10 NR

Dropped Out: No. 9 Fort Hays State (MIAA), No. 10 SMSU (NSIC)

 

Andy Rennecke

About Andy Rennecke

A sports writer for the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times newspaper who covers St. Cloud State athletics with a focus on football, women's basketball and men's basketball. I also cover the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League. Follow Andy Rennecke at https://twitter.com/AndyRennecke
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