Ottumwa -- Indian Hills was given the #11 seed and will take on #22 seed Monroe (N.Y.) College in the Warriors' opening game in the 2017 NJCAA National Basketball Championship. It will be IHCC's 13th trip to the tourney and the game with Monroe (23-10) will be a rematch of the Warriors' opening game when they played in Hutch in 2012. They lost that game, 81-69, but went on to play three more games in the double-elimination tournament, finishing in 6th place. The weeklong event is now a single-elimination affair.
Indian Hills, with a 29-4 season record, swept the Region 11 regular season and postseason championships and won the district title game on the road at North Dakota State College of Science last week. It willl take a 13-game winning streak into the tournament. They were hopeful that their resume would be good enough for a top-eight seed and, thus, a first-round bye. But coach Hank Plona said they knew they had no control over the seeding for the 24-team tourney. "We only worry about the things we can control," the IHCC coach said. "Monroe is a program that gets to Hutch very often, so they'll be prepared and ready to play. They beat Harcum and Harford, two teams that were at Hutch last year, to make it so they're playing great at the right time, just like us."
The Warriors took a few days off to recover from the long trip home from Wahpeton, N.D., where they won the district game, and the players have done some individual workouts the past few days. "We'll get back to full practice starting (Tuesday)," Plona stated, "and will go full-tilt the rest of the week. We'll leave here mid-day next Sunday and get to Hutch Sunday night. That will give us a full day to get comfortable, get our feet under us, and be ready to go at noon next Tuesday."
The last loss for the Warriors came on Jan. 18 at Iowa Western and they have played very solid basketball since then, with six of their 13 victories coming on the road. They have held 12 of the last 14 opponents under 70 points and the two that scored more than that tallied 71 and 73.
The Warriors have an overall tournament record of 26-14 in their previous visits to the Sports Arena in Hutch with consecutive national championships in 1997, '98 and '99.