Winona State is at it again.
The Warrior men's basketball team is on a pretty incredible 7 year run... a 186-37 record going back to the 05/06 season. They won the National Championship in 2006, did it again in 2008 and went 105-6 in that three year stretch. They set a national record for wins, with 38 in 07/08 and another national record with 57 wins in a row. And Win-ona is back at it this season... 17-2 and ranked #6 in the coaches poll. They are 12-1 right now in the NSIC, losing only at Northern State on a last-second three-pointer.
Which brings us around to this: Minnesota schools own the NSIC.
Granted, 9 of the 14 conference schools are in the state of Minnesota. And granted, some of the "other" teams have only been in the league a short while (UMary since 2006, Augustana since 2008). BUT... you would expect that Augie and Northern State and UMary would at least pick up a regular-season title or conference tournament championship once in a while. Nope.
Minnesota schools have won the last 8 regular season crowns and the last 6 post-season tournaments.
As good as UMary was last year they still finished second to Minnesota State and lost to St. Cloud in the tournament. Northern State was the last non-Minnesota school to win the regular season, but that was in 2003. Augie was cursed by the coaches as the pick to win the league this year but they are looking up at 6 Minnesota schools ahead of them in the standings right now.
Augustana gets another taste o' the land o' lakes this weekend facing Concordia-St. Paul on Friday and St. Cloud State on Saturday (on MidcoSN).
St. Cloud is another one of these Minnesota/NSIC/DII dynasties of the same mold as Winona and Minnesota State... tradition+long-time coach+great players=lots of wins every year. St. Cloud was in the national Final 4 in 2010. The Huskies are #13 in the nation this week. They thumped Augie 86-61 in St. Cloud just 25 days ago. And they have ended Augie's season the last two years.
So it would appear that the Minnesota machine is going to keep churning out champions... and unless Augie and Northern can make a move in the last 9 conference games and keep themselves in the top 8, it may very well be an all North Star state showdown at the NSIC final four when they head to Rochester in March.