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Central comes to town for IIAC Tournament

Central comes to town for IIAC Tournament

The Simpson men's basketball team hosts the Central Dutch in the first round of the Iowa Conference Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Cowles Fieldhouse. Todd Guessford will have the call on SimpsonAthletics.com. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. with pregame getting underway at 6:45.

The Storm earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament while Central landed the No. 5 seed. The winner advances to play top-seeded Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln on Thursday, Feb. 23. Simpson won both regular season meetings and owns a four-game winning streak in the series.

GAME SETUP
Matchup: 5 Central (14-11, 8-8 IIAC) at 4 Simpson (16-9, 9-7 IIAC)
Location: Indianola, Iowa • Cowles Fieldhouse
Time: Tuesday, Feb. 21 • 7 p.m.
Last Time Out: Simpson beat Luther 74-62
Live Video: SimpsonAthletics.com
Live Stats: SimpsonAthletics.com
Series: Simpson leads 101-96

IIAC TOURNAMENT
Tuesday, Feb. 21 — First Round
6 Wartburg at 3 Buena Vista, 8 p.m.
5 Central at 4 Simpson, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 23 — Semifinals
Wartburg/Buena Vista at 2 Loras, 7 p.m.
Central/Simpson at 1 Nebraska Wesleyan, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25 — Championship
Semifinal winners at highest remaining seed, TBA

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1 --- Simpson is making its 14th appearance in the IIAC Tournament and second in a row after missing out in 2014 and 2015. Simpson is 7-13 in its previous 13 trips, going 5-2 at home, 2-2 as the No. 4 seed and 6-7 in the first round. The Storm and Central are meeting for just the second time in IIAC Tournament history, the first game coming 10 years ago in 2007. That year, fourth-seeded Simpson beat fifth-seeded Central 95-87 in overtime at Cowles Fieldhouse.

2 --- After enduring a four-game losing streak to start January and prospects for a berth in the IIAC Tournament looking dim, the Storm responded by winning seven of their last 10 games to earn the No. 4 seed. By doing so, the Storm are hosting a first-round game in the IIAC Tournament for the second consecutive season, the first time that has happened in school history.

3 --- Sam Amsbaugh could become just the 20th member of Simpson's 1,000-point club with a solid effort Tuesday against the Dutch. The junior forward -- who ranks fourth in the IIAC in scoring at 18.6 ppg -- enters the game with 980 career points.

4 --- Last year, Simpson posted one of the biggest turnarounds in Division III after going 15-11. This year, the Storm reached the 15-win mark again, going 16-9. The back-to-back 15-win seasons are the first by the Simpson men's basketball program since 1997-98 and 1998-99.

5 --- Led by the Iowa Conference's leading scorer Colby Taylor (21.3 ppg), the battled-tested Dutch find themselves in a similar scenario to last season. Last year, Central snuck into the tournament with the No. 5 seed before winning three straight road games to win the league tournament, earning the Iowa Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Dutch had to beat Buena Vista and Luther in their final two games to secure the five seed in 2017.