Kaleb Center, CSC Sports Information Director
The Chadron State College men’s basketball team has qualified for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament, the program’s first postseason action in 9 years, and will meet top seed and 5th-ranked Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction on Tuesday.
The Eagles had 10 of their 22 games cancelled by COVID-19 and were 5-7 in the games that were played, all conference games.
Because of postponements throughout the conference and the uneven schedules they created, a rating index was used to determine the strength of each team’s wins and losses to determine which schools made the league tournament and their seeding.
CSC finished tied for 7th with South Dakota School of Mines, which won the tiebreaker based on each team’s success against 3rd-seed Black Hills State University, after tying in several other criteria.
If Mesa beats the Eagles Tuesday,, they will host the tournament semifinals and finals. If CSC wins, the highest remaining seed will be the host. The RMAC Tournament champion receives an automatic bid in the NCAA West Region tourney at Colorado School of Mines in Golden.
When the Eag;es and Mavericks last met Dec 12 in Chadron the game required two overtime periods to result in a 77-68 win for Mesa, who was then ranked No. 22.
The Mesa win was its fourth in an 11-0 start. The Mavs’ only loss came on January 30, at Western Colorado, and since then they managed to win seven more games including a win on the road at Colorado School of Mines, then the No. 1 team in NCAA Division II. They finished the season on Saturday at 18-1, all in conference action.
Tuesday’s game in Grand Junction will be CSC’s second top-five matchup this season, after it played Mines when the Orediggers were ranked fourth.
It will also be the seventh RMAC Tournament in the Eagles men’s program history. The others occurred in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2012.
The Eagles may have won the first-ever RMAC Tournament game, at least in the Division II era of the league. The conference did not list a postseason tournament before it officially joined Division II in 1993, and CSC defeated Mines in the first round of that inaugural tourney, 95-83.
Incidentally, Chadron State’s semifinal matchup that season was against Mesa, which prevailed 78-62.
On Tuesday, the Eagles will be without big men Jacob Jefferson, who lost the season to injury in January, and Deion Rhea, who departed the team in December. Jefferson was the team’s leading scorer leading up to his injury, while Rhea led the Eagles in both scoring and rebounding against Mesa in December.
Teddy Parham, Jr., now leads the Eagles in scoring, with 15.6 points per game, after pouring in 68 in his last three games. Deundra Roberson (11.0) and Marcus Jefferson (10.4) also average double figure scoring.
Marcus Jefferson leads all active players in rebounding and assists.
None of the RMAC tournament games will have fans present. Tuesday’s CSC can be viewed on the RMAC Network.