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Eric Peterson, Published February 25 2013

Nemzek to play host to Dragons playoff doubleheader

MOORHEAD – Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse will be doing unique double-duty Wednesday night.

That’s when Minnesota State Moorhead will be hosting a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference playoff doubleheader for the first time in the event’s 14-year existence.

The Dragons women’s team has never missed the league tournament. This will be the second time the MSUM men have hosted a first-round playoff game. The first time was last season.

“Both Chad and I are really excited about getting a doubleheader,” said MSUM women’s head coach Karla Nelson, referring to head men’s coach Chad Walthall. “Hopefully, we can hold our serve.”

The MSUM women earned the No. 3 seed from the North Division and host the University of Sioux Falls at 6 p.m. Sioux Falls is the No. 6 seed from the South Division.

The MSUM men earned the No. 4 seed from the North and host Southwest Minnesota State at 8 p.m. The Mustangs are the No. 5 seed from the South.

The NSIC expanded to 16 teams this season with the addition of Minot State and Sioux Falls. All 16 teams made the conference tournament. In years past, the top 8 teams made the field.

“I could go either way,” Walthall said on the field being 8 or 16 teams. “The South (Division) is really, really good from top to bottom. … There could be some good teams left out if you took eight.”

Walthall said one benefit all teams making league tournament is it keeps teams not in the top half of the standings engaged for the entire regular season.

“You know you still have something to play for,” said Walthall. “It makes the league interesting.”

The first two rounds of the NSIC tournament will be played at home sites of the high seed. The semifinals and finals are slated for Taylor Arena in Rochester, Minn., on March 8-9.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com