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Cougars start post-season tournament Wednesday

After a full 14-game league schedule, four teams from each gender have advanced to the UMAC Basketball Postseason Tournament and will vie for the conference's first-ever automatic qualifiers into the NCAA Tournament.

On the women's side, UMM swept its UMAC competition during the regular season to solidify its second consecutive conference championship and the top seed in the tournament. The Cougars will play fourth-seeded Martin Luther College in Morris while No. 3 Northland College will travel to Northwestern, the second seed at the same time. Wednesday's women's semifinal games will both tip off at 5:30 p.m., with the winners advancing to Saturday's championship game, which will be hosted by the remaining highest seed.

In men's action, No. 2 UMM will welcome Bethany Lutheran College, the third seed. In the other half of the tournament bracket, Northwestern College clinched the No. 1 seed with its second UMAC regular season championship in as many years. The Eagles will host fourth-seeded Martin Luther College, who Northwestern beat by just two points in both teams' regular season finale on Saturday evening. Both semifinal games will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23 with the winners advancing to Saturday's championship game which will be hosted by the tournament's highest remaining seed.

For the first time in UMAC history, Saturday's tournament winners will punch their ticket to the big dance, which is scheduled to begin the weekend of March 5-7.