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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It went down to the final day of the regular season, but South Dakota State captured the outright regular season title for the second year in a row and will be the No. 1 seed once again at The Summit League Men's Basketball Championship. The three-time defending tournament champs will begin their title defense at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Saturday, March 9 against No. 8 seed Western Illinois at 6 p.m. CT (MidcoSN/ESPN+).
The Jacks (24-7, 14-2 SL) clinched the outright title Saturday afternoon thanks to their 86-66 victory over the Fighting Leathernecks (9-20, 3-13), who were the final team to secure a spot in the eight-team field. The league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will be determined in the championship game Tuesday, March 12.
The Leathernecks needed an Omaha victory over Denver to secure their spot and the Mavericks (19-10, 13-3 SL) obliged with an 86-76 victory that will keep the Pioneers home during the postseason. The Mavs will be the No. 2 seed in Sioux Falls and take on No. 7 seed North Dakota (12-17, 6-10 SL). The Fighting Hawks will be making their tournament debut in Saturday's second quarterfinal at 8:30 p.m. CT (MidcoSN/ESPN+). Omaha's 19 regular-season wins is a new Division I program record and the second-place finish is its highest since joining the league prior to the 2012-13 season.
Sunday's quarterfinals session begins with No. 4 seed North Dakota State (15-15, 9-7) against No. 5 Oral Roberts (11-20, 7-9) at 6 p.m. CT (MidcoSN/ESPN+). No. 3 seed Purdue Fort Wayne (17-14, 9-7) faces No. 6 South Dakota (13-16, 7-9) at 8:30 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN+) to close out the quarterfinal round. Despite a 69-66 loss to NDSU on Saturday, the Mastodons held the tiebreaker on the Bison, who they split the regular-season series with, for the No. 3 seed by virtue of their regular-season win over top-seeded South Dakota State. The Golden Eagles held the tiebreaker on the Coyotes for the fifth seed after sweeping the regular-season series from USD.
Monday's semifinals begin with the winner of the South Dakota State/Western Illinois matchup vs the winner of the NDSU/Oral Roberts clash at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the winners of the Omaha/North Dakota and Purdue Fort Wayne/South Dakota contests at 8:30 p.m.. Both semifinals air on MidcoSN with an ESPN+ simulcast.
Tuesday's championship game is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN2 and available on WatchESPN.com.
All men's and women's games at The Summit League Basketball Championships can be viewed live across multiple platforms ranging from cable television to handheld devices. The coverage by Midco Sports Network and ESPN platforms marks the 10th consecutive season that both the men's and women's tournaments are available in their entirety. MidcoSN's involved dates back to 2010 while the men's title game has appeared on ESPN or ESPN2 each of the last 25 years.
Ticket information for the 2019 Summit League Basketball Tournament can be found at www.thesummitleague.org/tickets. Tickets may be purchased at all TicketMaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or in person at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Box Office.
For complete information on this year's tournament, visit The Summit League's championships website at www.thesummitleague.org/march2thesummit.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Called "March's Best-Kept Secret" by USA Today, The Summit League Basketball Championships has gained a reputation as one of the nation's top college basketball tournaments. Through their nine years in Sioux Falls, S.D., the men's and women's Summit League Tournaments have produced record attendance figures on an annual basis. The Summit League Basketball Championships return to the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, March 9-12, 2019. For more information about the league and to "March To The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org/march2thesummit.