The dream of a national basketball championship is alive and well at Ranger College.
The Rangers were awarded one of eight at-large berths to the upcoming NJCAA Men's National Basketball Championships on Monday morning by members of the championship tournament committee. The Rangers, who finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in the nation, will join 23 other teams from throughout the U.S. at the national tournament next week in Hutchinson, Kansas.
"We're excited for our players, the college and the entire area," said Ranger College President William J. Campion after being notified the Rangers had received an at-large bid. "These young men have worked hard and represented not only our college but our whole area very well. We're excited for them to get this opportunity."
Ranger is one of three teams from Region V to qualify for the national tournament. Joining the Rangers in the field will be defending national champion South Plains and Odessa College. South Plains, spurred on by a stunning 85-75 win over Ranger, won the Region V Basketball Championship on Saturday in Abilene.
Ranger College, 28-3 overall, will begin its second trip to the national tournament in the past three years as the No. 8 seed. The team will take to the court on March 19 when they face off against either Casper College or Cleveland State at 4:30 p.m. Casper and Cleveland State will play on Monday.
The Rangers enter the tournament as one of the nation's top squads. Offensively, RC has averaged almost 90 points per game this season, while limiting opponents to less than 70.
South Plains, 26-5 overall, enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Texans will play either Trinity Valley or Shelton State on Tuesday.
Odessa College is the No. 6 seed and will play either Pearl River or Williston State in their opener.
The national tournament will run through March 23.