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March 09, 2009

USI returns to the NCAA II Tournament
Eagles start tournament play Saturday

USI Game Notes; NABC Division II Top 25

EVANSVILLE, Ind. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament and will be in the Midwest Regional March 14-17 in Findlay, Ohio. The regional is being hosted by the University of Findlay, which is ranked number one nationally, for the third time in five seasons.

The Screaming Eagles (26-6) return to the NCAA Division II Tournament after a one-year hiatus and are making their 15th appearance in the regional in the last 17 seasons. USI, the 1995 NCAA II National Champion, has appeared in the NCAA II Tournament 20 times in the history of the program and has a record of 30-22 in tournament play.

The Eagles, the 2009 GLVC West Division champion, were disappointed in the conference tournament last weekend after bowing out in the semifinals. USI lost a 54-50 decision to Bellarmine University following a 67-61 win over Lewis University in the opening round.

Leading the way into the national tournament for the Eagles is junior guard Jamar Smith (Peoria, Illinois). Smith, who was named first team All-GLVC and to the GLVC All-Tournament team, is posting 18.5 points per game and is averaging 3.9 three-point field goals per game.

National tournament action begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (CDT) with a familiar foe for the Eagles -- Rockhurst University. USI swept Rockhurst (19-10) during the regular season and finished one-game ahead of the Hawks in the West Division.

Rockhurst also lost in the semifinals of the GLVC Tournament last weekend, falling to eventual tournament champion Northern Kentucky University.

Prior to the USI-Rockhurst match-up Saturday, the Midwest Regional will feature third-seeded NKU (24-6) against sixth-seeded Lake Superior State University (21-8) at 11 a.m. (CDT); second-seeded Bellarmine (24-6) versus seventh-seeded Kentucky Wesleyan College at 1:30 p.m. (CDT) ; and top-seed Findlay (30-0) hosts Grand Valley State University (21-9) at 5 p.m. (CDT). The tournament continues with the semifinals Sunday at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (CDT), while the championship game is March 17 at 6 p.m. (CDT).

Eagle fans interested in attending the regional can contact the USI Ticket Office at 812/465-7165 for ticket availability. The price for reserved seats is $10, while general admission is $8 and a student ticket is $4.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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