Monday morning, March 4, will find the College of the Ozarks Bobcats traveling to Sioux Falls, S.D. to participate in the NAIA DII Men’s Basketball National Championship. The 32-team tournament opens on Wednesday morning with two days of opening-round games.
The Bobcats are slated to play their first game at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening in the Sanford Pentagon, located in Sioux Falls. They will face West Virginia University of Technology (WVU Tech), who holds a 29-4 record on the season.
WVU Tech enters the tournament ranked as the top seed in the Duer bracket after claiming the 2018-19 River States Conference Championship trophy. The Golden Bears are led on the court by Elisha Boone, a 6’4 guard. Boone currently leads his team in scoring (19.91 ppg), rebounds (11.41/gm), assists (3.72/gm) and blocks (.44/gm). The Golden Bears rank in the top ten of NAIA DII in 13 statistical categories, ranking No. 1 in total assists (611) and total scoring offense (3,157). WVU has four players averaging double-figure scoring for the season.
The Bobcats enter the tournament ranked as the No. 8 seed in the bracket. The Bobcats qualified for the tournament as Runner-Up in the A.I.I. Conference Championship, where they fell to Voorhees College in double overtime. The Bobcats enter the championship event with a record of 22-10. Senior Ethan Davidson, A.I.I. Co-Player of the Year, is the leading scorer for the Bobcats at 25.29 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounds (8.56/gm) and blocks (.55/gm). CofO also has four players who average double- digit points on the season. Junior Brandt Cochran is averaging 21.4 points per game and leads the Bobcats in assists (4.3/gm) and steals (1.59/gm). Senior Heath Carmichael and sophomore Treydon Rackley have averaged 15.6 and 10.7 points per game respectively. The Bobcats rank in the NAIA DII Top Ten in ten different categories of the stat charts, including No. 1 in three-point field goal percentage (43.8). In the individual rankings, Carmichael is No. 2 (127) and Cochran ranks No. 3 (125) in three-point field goals made.
College of the Ozarks is eager to take the court, with a strong desire to post an opening-round upset.
Additional information regarding the tournament is available here, including ticket information and the opportunity to purchase a live-stream feed to watch the games.