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Tigers qualify as 6 seed for regional

By The Hays Daily News

The Fort Hays State University men's basketball team qualified as the No. 6 seed in the Central Region as part of the 64-team NCAA Division II tournament released Sunday night.

The Tigers (22-7) will play No. 3 seed and MIAA foe Missouri Southern State University (24-5) in the first round Saturday at University of Minnesota State-Mankato. Game time is noon.

Missouri Southern won the MIAA conference tournament Sunday. FHSU beat Missouri Southern 76-67 on Jan. 4 in Joplin, Mo., in the team's lone matchup this year.

Fort Hays was sixth in all four Central Region polls. The Tigers had to wait after they lost to University of Central Oklahoma in the first round of the MIAA conference tournament on Friday afternoon.

This is the sixth NCAA tournament appearance for Tiger coach Mark Johnson. Saturday will potentially be the last game for longtime Missouri Southern coach Robert Corn, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

The Tiger women (21-8) were ninth in the last Central Region rankings, but missed the tournament after a 71-69 loss to University of Central Missouri in the conference tournament semifinals Saturday. FHSU has won 20, 22 and 21 games in the last three years, but no NCAA bids.

Upsets in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and Great American Conference tournaments - also part of the Central Region - hurt the Tigers. FHSU and Minnesota State-Mankato, No. 6 in the last Central Region polls, were the only teams in the top-nine in the last rankings to not make the tournament.