Trinity Valley gets at-large men's bid to Hutchinson; Blinn gets at-large women's bid to Salina
The NJCAA has selected Trinity Valley Community College as one of four at-large picks for the men’s national junior college tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., on March 17-22.
Trinity Valley was ranked No. 8 in the National Junior College Athletic Assocaition’s final rankings last week, but Paris Junior College won the national tournament berth for Region XIV by beating TVCC 74-63 Saturday.
Meanwhile, Region XIV also will have a third team in the women’s junior college championships at Salina, Kan.
Already assured a berth at the women’s nationals were Trinity Valley and Tyler — which finished 1-2 in Region XIV. Sunday, Blinn, which tied with Tyler for third place in the regular season standings, received an at-large bid.
South Plains College, which lost in the Region 5 tournament over the weekend, also got an at-large invitation to the men’s tournament in Hutchinson.
The Texans were atop the standings for much of the season but were No. 5 in the final poll.
The two other teams to get an at-large invitation to Hutchinson also were highly ranked — No. 3 Columbia State and No. 4 Harcum College.
Hill College got the automatic tournament spot from District 5 by winning that tournament. New Mexico junior College finished second in the region but also won an automatic bid by finishing runnerup in the Region 5 rounament.l
With Trinity Valley joining Paris, and with South Plains joining Hill College, five teams from Region 5 and Region XIV will be in the 24-team tournament — Paris, Hill, New Mexico, South Plains and Trinity Valley.
Both the men’s and women’s junior college tournaments will have a 24-team field, with the top eight seeds getting a first-round bye. Brackets are to be released Sunday. Sixteen of the teams are the champions of 16 regions. Four of the regions also have a second berth in the national tournament. Four teams then are added at -large to complete the field.
Region 5 was guaranteed two men’s teams this year — like Region XIV got a year ago — and those bids were expected to go to McLennan College of the North Texas zone and South Plains of the West Texas zone. But both lost in the Region 5 tournament.
Three other ranked Texas teams will be staying home — No. 7 McLennan, No. 20 Kilgore and No. 24 San Jacinto.
With the Trinity Valley men’s selection, that means both the men and women will be going from the college in Athens, Texas.
Trinity Valley’s Lady Cardinals are ranked No. 1 nationally and are two-time defending national champions. They beat Tyler Saturday night.
The final women’s Top 25 poll had Trinity Valley No. 1, Tyler No. 11, and Blinn No. 12. Tyler defeated Blinn in the Region 14 semifinals.
Region 14 women were guaranteed two teams. Region 5 has one team — tournament champion New Mexico Junior College.
At-large women’s college invitees in addition to Blinn are No. 6 Butler, No. 7 Northwest Florida State, and No. 9 Salt Lake Community College.
Here’s a complete list of junior colleges competing in the men’s and women’s National Junior College Athletic Association tournaments on March 17-22:
NJCAA Men’s Tournament, Hutchinson, Kan.
NJCAA Women’s Tournament, Salina, Kan.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra