The Sanford Pentagon will host a two-day NCAA Division II men’s college basketball event Nov. 16-17 that matches two teams from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference against two teams from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The East vs. West Challenge presented by Sanford Health features Augustana University, Northern State University, Black Hills State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
The event will be played four consecutive years with rotating venues.
2018: Sanford Pentagon
2019: Black Hills State University
2020: Sanford Pentagon
2021: Northern State University
Tickets for the 2018 event go on sale at 10 a.m. on August 24.
“There is a lot of great basketball played on both sides of the state, and we’re excited to watch these four teams compete against each other,” said Jesse Smith, director of operations at the Sanford Sports Complex. “The atmosphere on Heritage Court will be electric which enhances the fan and player experience.”
Northern State put together one of the greatest seasons in school history in 2017-18, advancing to the NCAA DII national championship game, before falling to Ferris State 71-69.
The Wolves, a member of the NSIC, finished the season with a 36-4 record, going 20-2 in the conference.
“We appreciate Sanford for putting together this college basketball classic that will take place these next four years,” said Paul Sather, Northern State head men’s basketball coach. “The state of South Dakota has strong college basketball programs, and this is a great opportunity to play some quality programs from NCAA Division II schools that are in our state, but play in a different conference.”
Augustana is coming off a 16-14 season, going 10-12 in the NSIC. The Vikings ended their 2017-18 season in the second round of the NSIC tournament.
“We are excited to play two teams from within our state that represent another conference and region,” said Tom Billeter, Augustana men’s head basketball coach. “We are always happy to partner with Sanford in any athletic activity. They do everything first class and I know it will be an excellent tournament.”
Black Hills State is coming off a winning season in 2017-18, going 15-12 overall and 12-10 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
“With the East vs. West Challenge, we get the opportunity to test ourselves early against two of the top DII programs in the nation with Augustana and Northern State,” said Ryan Thompson, Black Hills State head men’s basketball coach. “Our team and fans are excited to play against two in-state programs at one of the best facilities in the region at the Sanford Pentagon.”
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology ended the 2017-18 season with a thrilling 3OT victory over Chadron State in the final regular season Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game. The Hardrockers finished the year with an 8-19 record, going 5-17 in the RMAC.
“We are ecstatic to be a part of this wonderful event. The state of South Dakota has some of the top academic and athletic institutions in the country along with exceptional facilities,” said South Dakota Mines men’s basketball head coach Jason Henry. “Our program, our community and our school are looking forward to being a part of this event. This is a phenomenal way to showcase what the South Dakota Mines has to offer both on and off the court.”
About the Sanford Pentagon
The cornerstone of the Sanford Sports Complex in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the Sanford Pentagon, a 160,000-square-foot, five-sided facility featuring nine basketball courts, including the 1950s/1960s-inspired Heritage Court. The venue combines state-of-the-art amenities—including high-definition video boards and executive suites—with period-specific finishes that are a nod to the nostalgic days of basketball.
The 3,200-seat Pentagon is home to Sanford POWER Basketball Academy, Sanford POWER Volleyball Academy, the NBA G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Women’s and Men’s Basketball tournaments and the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame. For more information, visit sanfordpentagon.com.
Courtesy: Sanford Health