DSU hosts national qualifying tournament

Dakota State University will serve as host of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Men's and Women's Basketball Division II National Qualifying Tournament February 23-25, 2012.

The tournament will attract five men's and five women's teams from across the country. By serving as host, Dakota State men and women will receive an automatic berth in the tournament. The winner and runner-up of the championship game will both advance to the National NAIA Tournament. The men's tournament is held in Point Lookout, Mo., the women's in Sioux City, Iowa.

 "Hosting this tournament is huge," says DSU Athletic Director Gene Wockenfuss. "It gives us the opportunity to solidify our place with the other independent schools, showcase our university, and give area fans the opportunity to experience top quality basketball games."

Wockenfuss has secured all the available hotel rooms for the tournament, but says more will be needed. "The teams take several rooms, but we are also thinking of the fans who follow their teams, and the large amounts of people this tournament could bring to Madison. "

Because of the impact the tournament will have on the DSU campus and the Madison community, planning is already underway. Wockenfuss put together a group of DSU coaches and staff to work on the logistics of the tournament. A committee of community members will be recruited to deal with tournament details and act as hosts for the visiting teams. "The level of success we achieve in providing a positive atmosphere for this tournament for our fans and those from across the county is really going to depend on our volunteers," says Wockenfuss. 

Much of what Wockenfuss and the committees will do will be new territory for DSU, and for the A.I.I. tournament. "This is only the second year both the men's and women's tournaments were played in the same venue. Last year the men played in Denver, Colo., and the women in Gary, Ind. We took the lead in bidding for both the men's and women's to be played at one venue. "

DSU Head Men's Basketball Coach Gary Garner commented, "This tournament is a big positive for our basketball program. It will be very exciting for our players, students, fans and help our recruitment of players for the future."

DSU Head Women's Basketball Coach Joe Reints added, "I really think this is a great opportunity for DSU and the Madison community. The national tournament will be a strong motivating factor for our current and future players to know that we must play well on our home court in order to move on [to the national tournament]. We will be making that a point of emphasis all year long. It will really be exciting to get to play those critical games in a friendly environment."

The tournament starts with games on Thursday, February 23 and concludes with the championship game Saturday, February 25. All games will be played in the DSU Fieldhouse. As the tournament nears, tickets will be available for purchase from DSU and other outlets.

Last Updated: 1/10/12