By Sam Ojeda
Sports Editor

The NJCAA Tournament men’s bracket was announced Sunday and the Hutchinson Blue Dragons are in. The Blue Dragons received the 11th overall seed and drew No. 22 seed, USC-Salkehatchie. 

HutchCC earned this at-large bid following a 25-5 regular season record and an appearance in the Region 6 Tournament final against Barton. They were ranked 16 in the most recent NJCAA polls. The Cowley Tigers, whom the Blue Dragons beat once in the regular season and once in the postseason, earned the No. 9 overall seed, the first non-bye seed in the NJCAA tournament. 

USC-Salkehatchie earned their bid into the tournament by winning the Region 10 title with a 69-58 victory over regular-season champion Caldwell Tech. First-year coach Matt Lynch leads them.

The winner of that matchup will need to take on the tough No. 6 overall seed, Chipola. Chipola is 29-4 and a consistent NJCAA Tournament attendee.

Barton is the No. 1 overall seed this year after a victorious run to the Region 6 championship.

HutchCC is led by an experienced roster backed by a strong defense. Sophomore forward Kamryn Thomas is their lead player averaging 16.2 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game. The Blue Dragons have five total scorers averaging above 10 ppg and commit the least amount of turnovers per game in the Tommy DeSalme era.

The Blue Dragons will play at 12:15 p.m. on March 25 at Hutchinson Sports Arena. 

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