Ferris State Climbs To Third In Midwest Region

Senior guard Darien Gay and the Bulldogs are third in the region this week (FSU Photo Services)
Senior guard Darien Gay and the Bulldogs are third in the region this week (FSU Photo Services)

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team's national tournament hopes took a big leap forward on Wednesday (Feb. 23) as the Bulldogs jumped to third in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Rankings announced by the NCAA.

Ferris had previously been listed ninth in the region each of the last two weeks, but moved forward six spots after a pair of home wins last week over two teams previously listed among the top six in the region in Findlay and Wayne State.

The top eight teams at the end of the season earn berths into the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament, which will take place March 12-15 at a campus site to be determined.  The Midwest Region encompasses both the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) with automatic berths awarded to the winners of both respective league postseason tournaments.

The Bulldogs, who are also listed 21st in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 National Poll this week, trail top-ranked Bellarmine and number two Southern Indiana in the regional listing.  FSU is one of four GLIAC member schools found in the region's top 10 along with Wayne State (#5), Hillsdale (#6) and Findlay (#8).  The other six schools all come from the GLVC.

Ferris State has made eight NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in school history with the most recent showings coming in back to back years during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 campaigns.

The Bulldogs will play their final regular-season contest at home this Saturday (Feb. 26) against archrival Grand Valley State.  Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET) and the program will celebrate its "1,000th Win" recorded earlier this month with a special halftime ceremony involving former players and staff. 

Last Saturday's (Feb. 19) exciting 84-66 win over previously third-ranked Findlay lifted FSU to the outright GLIAC North Division Championship and the inside track to potentially hosting the semifinals and finals of the GLIAC Tournament on March 5-6.  Ferris also secured a tournament quarterfinal-round home contest, which will be played against an opponent yet to be named on Wednesday, March 2.

The divisional title is FSU's third under head coach Bill Sall and the program's first since winning back-to-back GLIAC North crowns in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  With the victory, which was FSU's 12th-straight win and 14th in the last 15 games, the Bulldogs improved to 20-5 overall and hold the league's top overall record at 16-2 this campaign.

The Bulldogs' 20 victories to date this year are the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league wins are now tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.  FSU is also unbeaten (12-0) at home this year heading into Saturday's game against GVSU.

NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Rankings (as of Feb. 23)
Includes Rank, School, Division II Record & In-Region Record

1 Bellarmine 22-1 22-1  
2 Southern Indiana 17-4 15-4  
3 Ferris State 19-4 19-4  
4 Drury 17-6 17-6  
5 Wayne State (Michigan) 17-6 17-6  
6 Hillsdale 18-3 16-3  
7 Northern Kentucky 16-7 16-7  
8 Findlay 18-3 18-3  
9 Indianapolis 15-7 12-7  
10 Kentucky Wesleyan 14-8 14-8