I think the Midwest Regional is safe for GLVC men’s basketball. That is, a GLVC team probably will be the host.
A glance at the latest Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Association (GLIAC) standings now shows Wayne State with a 14-5 overall record, 13-3 in conference play. The next closest teams are 15-6 or 14-6 overall, with nobody any better than 12-5 in GLIAC play. Plus, Wayne State has already lost to two GLVC teams, falling 79-65 in its season opener at Bellarmine and losing 82-78 at home to Drury.
That’s not to say the tournament will avoid a long road trip for teams like USI. The East Division’s Wisconsin-Parkside is in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the GLVC Tournament (taking place at the Ford Center), with its closest competitor, the West’s Drury, having lost at home to Parkside in January (and also to Indianapolis), which should give the GLVC East a leg up in the league tourney seedings. That said, Parkside’s gym at Kenosha, Wis./Somers, Wis., (I’ve seen both datelines used for games at Parkside, although I’m not sure why) may wind up being the least populated by spectators of any regional site in the country. For example, Parkside’s home victory over USI drew all of 162 people. Having covered games there back in the 1990s on my first assignment following the Eagles, I will bet that figure was inflated. Probably more like 50 people actually showed up to watch the game.
But nothing really matters until the region rankings come out. The first rankings will be released on Feb. 20. Those rankings, which will come out two more times before the NCAA announces its tournament pairings, will go a long way in telling us who will get regional berths and get the chance to make that long drive.