The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats did what only four other programs have done before them. The Bearcats ran the table, going a perfect 38-0 in capturing the 2019 DII men's basketball championship. The Bearcats swept through the regular season with a perfect 29-0 record and are now the first undefeated team in 10 years since Findlay ran the table, going 36-0 on the way to the 2009 national championship.
PREVIEW: Can Northwest Missouri State run the table?
Let's take a quick look at how Northwest Missouri State got here.
While brother and sister Diego and Daejah Bernard attend different #NCAAD2 schools, they both happen to be No. 1 in #D2Hoops: https://t.co/dis9iiD5Sb. #MakeItYours pic.twitter.com/TFJW6IueUt— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) February 8, 2019
BRACKET: Print yours | Interactive bracket
No. 1 Northwest Missouri State (38-0)
The Bearcats built an impressive resume right out of the gates, beating the defending runner-up and defending champ on consecutive nights to open the season.
6️⃣ STRAIGHT— Bearcat Basketball (@NWBearcatMBB) February 22, 2019
.@CoachMcCollum & @NWBearcatMBB become the first program in the 95 year history of @TheMIAA 🏀 to win six straight regular season titles in a row. #MIAAChampions pic.twitter.com/Mvr0Y6T0yp
Northwest Missouri State handled a very good Washburn in the regular season finale, 72-49. It kept that momentum rolling, sweeping through the MIAA tournament. The Bearcats entered the season with just two returning starters and ended the regular season with four DII basketball stars in Joey Witthus, Trevor Hudgins, Ryan Hawkins, and Diego Bernard. They then chased Findlay's historic 2009 season to become the fifth DII basketball team in history to run a perfect schedule.
Ten years ago, Findlay's Tyler Evans nailed a last second-shot to propel the Oilers to their first #D2Hoops title and finish at a record of 36-0.https://t.co/LnUHsbapeb caught up with Evans to recap Findlay's incredible run and his unforgettable shot: https://t.co/irigiLO0qx. pic.twitter.com/s4WgdbsnPI— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) March 1, 2019
THE MIAA TOURNAMENT:
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RECAP: Stats, highlights and analysis
- Thursday, Mar. 7: Northwest Missouri State 82, Emporia State 79
- Saturday, Mar. 9: Northwest Missouri State 86, Lincoln (Mo) 69
- Sunday, Mar. 10: MIAA Championship: Northwest Missouri State 82, Washburn 53
Bearcats win 82-53 over the Ichabod’s making them the MIAA Tournament Champions! Hudgins lead the team with 27 and Witthus followed 25.— Bearcat Basketball (@NWBearcatMBB) March 10, 2019
Regional brackets will be released tonight at 9:30. #OABAAB pic.twitter.com/E7g8iRoUKO
NCAA DII TOURNAMENT WATCH: Standout freshmen | Stat leaders
The DII men's basketball championship:
The Bearcats entered the NCAA DII tournament as the top seed in the Central Region. They avenged their loss to the same No. 8-seeded Minnesota State team that upset them last year. A close quarterfinals game tested the Bearcats, but they responded in a big way in the semifinals, using a 45-24 second half to post a 23-point victory. A big win in the finals elevated Northwest Missouri State to a perfect season.
TOURNEY PREP: Let's take a region-by-region look at teams to watch
|1||Mar. 16||NWMSU 91, Minnesota State 62|
|2||Mar. 17||NWMSU 70, Southern Nazarene 59|
|Regional Championship||Mar. 19||NWMSU 82, Mo. Southern St. 70|
|Elite Eight||Mar. 27||NWMSU 55, Mercyhurst 51|
|Semifinals||Mar 28||NWMSU 76, Saint Anselm 53|
|Championship||Mar. 30||NWMSU 64, Point Loma 58|