What did we learn from last week’s crucial Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference basketball weekend schedule? Locally, the Black Hills State University women will play in the RMAC Shootout and the Yellow Jacket men won’t.
The RMAC Shootout, of course, is the league’s postseason tournament.
The Yellow Jacket women needed at least one win last week to earn a playoffs berth and got it on Friday night with a big 59-51 victory over Colorado State University-Pueblo. Despite a tough three-point loss to University of Colorado-Colorado Springs on Saturday, thanks to other game results in the conference, they clinched a spot in the Shootout.
Black Hills State, 12-9, will close the regular season on Saturday at home against Chadron State.
Six teams have clinched the eight-team Shootout field, with Regis, Metro State-Denver and Western New Mexico all vying for the other two positions. Regis can clinch a spot with a win or a Western New Mexico loss and Metro State can clinch with two wins or a WNM loss.
Western New Mexico hosts 5-16 New Mexico Highlands on Saturday, so Regis and Metro State will likely have to take care of business to advance.
There are some interesting scenarios at the top of the conference as well. Currently, Colorado Mesa is at 17-3, followed by Colorado Springs at 16-4, Colorado Christian at 14-7 and Pueblo at 13-7. The top four teams host first-round games.
• Colorado Mesa can clinch the title with a win. Co-champions will be declared in the event of a tie. They can clinch the No. 1 seed in the RMAC tournament with two wins.
• UCCS can clinch the championship with two wins, coupled with a CMU loss.
• Colorado Christian can clinch a tournament quarterfinal home game on Tuesday with a win or a Fort Lewis College loss.
• CSU-Pueblo can clinch a quarterfinal home game Tuesday, March 3, with two wins or a win coupled with a Fort Lewis loss.
On the men’s side, the top eight teams have clinched. Black Hills State sits at ninth place at 7-14 and hosts No. 11 Chadron State (6-15) on Saturday.
A very good men’s RMAC is tight as expected. Colorado Mines is 18-3 and on top, followed by Metro State-Denver at 17-3, UCCS at 16-4, Pueblo at 15-5, Mesa and Fort Lewis at 14-6, Adams State at 12-8 and Colorado Christian is 11-10.
• Colorado Mines can clinch the championship with a win or a Metro State loss. Co-champions will be declared if there is a tie.
• MSU-Denver can clinch the championship with two wins or a win coupled with a Mines loss.
• UCCS can clinch the championship with two wins, coupled with a Mines loss. They can clinch quarterfinal home game with one win.
• CSU-Pueblo can clinch a quarterfinal home game with two wins or a win coupled with losses by Forth Lewis and CMU.
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is a good Division II basketball league. With South Dakota Mines joining the fun next year, local fans will enjoy the strong competition coming to Rapid City.
Except, you can’t see good basketball if you don’t go to the games.
Simple as that.