Six MIAC teams tip off NCAA Tournament play on Friday

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Selection Monday was good to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) this year with six of its basketball teams securing spots in the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments.

The MIAC landed a trio of teams in each bracket, with Gustavus, Saint Benedict and St. Thomas earning spots in the Women's Tournament and Augsburg, Saint John's and St. Olaf receiving the nod in the Men's. The Tommie women and Auggie men entered Monday assured of a spot in the "Big Dance" by virtue of winning the MIAC Playoff Championships in each of their respective sports, while the Johnnies, Oles and Gusties joined CSB as at-large selections in the 64-team fields.

Saint John's and St. Thomas were also selected as regional host sites for the Tournaments. Sexton Arena in Collegeville will see Wisconsin-Stevens Point face off with North Central (Ill.) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by the regular season MIAC men's basketball champion Johnnies welcoming Bethany Lutheran to its home court at 7:30 p.m. The two winners will play at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Saint John's for the chance to advance to the Sweet 16.

Schoenecker Arena in St. Paul will host the UST women's regional. Wisconsin Lutheran will take on Chicago at 5:30 p.m. on Friday before the MIAC champion Tommies tangle with Chapman at 8:00 p.m. The two winners will play at 7:00 p.m. the following night.

Fresh off winning the first MIAC Men's Basketball Playoff title in program history, the Augsburg Auggies will travel to Rock Island, Ill. for their four-team regional at Augustana College. The Auggies match up with Hope College (Mich.) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, with the winner facing the victor of the Augustana/Greenville (Ill.) game.

St. Olaf found its way back into the Men's Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons on Monday and will travel to Platteville, Wis. for its regional foursome on the campus of Wisconsin-Platteville. The Oles will battle Sul Ross State (Tex.) on Bo Ryan Court at 5:30 p.m. Friday night, with the winner advancing to challenge the winner of the Wisconsin-Platteville versus Monmouth contest.

An outstanding regular season earned Saint Benedict its first trip to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament in nearly a decade. CSB will make its first postseason appearance since 2009 on Friday when it takes on George Fox (Ore.) at 5:30 p.m. on the Wartburg College campus in Waverly, Iowa. The winner will face the winner of the Wartburg/Webster game.

Gustavus pushed St. Thomas to the limit in the 2018 MIAC Women's Basketball Championship Game and the selection committee took notice, granting the Golden Gusties one of 20 at-large bids to the Tournament. Gustavus – making its second consecutive trip to the Big Dance – will matchup with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in first round action at 5:00 p.m. on Friday in Whitewater, Wis. The winner of that game will face the winner of Friday's meeting between Badger State battle between Whitewater and Superior.

Should St. Thomas, Saint Benedict and/or Gustavus advance to the semifinal round, they will not have far to travel, as the MIAC's own Saint Mary's University is host to this year's Women's Final Four and National Championship. Those games will be played in Rochester, Minn. at the Mayo Civic Center on March 16-17.

The NCAA has an interactive bracket (men – women) to help fans track the tournament's progress. All six of Friday's games will have live stats and video, with links available on the MIAC Scoreboard. Fans can also download the MIAC's mobile app to stay up-to-date with the progress of the six teams throughout the NCAA Tournament.

 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament Games
 Date  Tipoff  Matchup  Host
Friday, March 2 5:30 PM Augsburg (21-7) vs. Hope (18-9) Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.)
Friday, March 2 5:30 PM St. Olaf (19-7) vs. Sul Ross State (22-6) UW-Platteville (Platteville, Wis.)
Friday, March 2 7:30 PM Saint John's (23-3) vs. Bethany Lutheran (19-8) Saint John's University (Collegeville, Minn.)
 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament Games
 Date  Tipoff  Matchup  Host
Friday, March 2 5:00 PM Gustavus (22-6) vs. Rose-Hulman (24-3) UW-Whitewater (Whitewater, Wis.)
Friday, March 2 5:30 PM Saint Benedict (22-4) vs. George Fox (24-3) Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa)
Friday, March 2 8:00 PM St. Thomas (25-2) vs. Chapman (23-4) University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.)