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Area hoopers earn NCAA Tournament bids

Northwest Ohio has long been blessed with an immense amount of talent from the boys basketball ranks and that was never more evident than this season as a host of prep stars earned bids to compete for their collegiate squads in the upcoming NCAA Men’s Division 1 and Division 2 Basketball Tournaments.

University of Dayton Sophomore Ryan Mikesell of St. Henry will take the short trip to Indianapolis this weekend as his Flyers (24-7) begin their march to the finals in the South Regional where they will battle the Wichita State Shockers (30-4) starting at 6:10pm on Friday night.

Joining Mikesell at Bankers Life Fieldhouse are the Lima Central Catholic duo of Tre Cobbs and Dantez Walton who are both Freshmen at Northern Kentucky University (24-10) and just a year removed from a trip to the OHSAA State Tournament where they helped the T-Birds capture a Division 3 championship. NKU will begin their trek on Friday night around 9pm as they take on Southeastern Conference Champion Kentucky (29-5) in the first round.

Also in action in Indianapolis will be the Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan Wolverines (24-11) and last seasons OHSAA Division 1 Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball in the state of Ohio Xavier Simpson (Lima Senior) as he and his team make the four hour trip for a Friday morning 11:15am matchup with Oklahoma State (20-12).

8th seeded Wisconsin (25-9) who begins their play Thursday night at approx 8:45pm against ninth seeded Virginia Tech (22-10) in Buffalo, NY is well represented by young talent from Ohio as they feature a foursome of talented players from the Buckeye state. Representing close to the area are the duo of Seniors Nigel Hayes (Toledo Whitmer), and Bowling Green Bobcat standout Vitto Brown.

The Midwest Regional will feature the Purdue Boilermakers (25-7) and Elida product Dakota Mathis as they take on a 29-5 Vermont squad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday at 6:27pm.

19-14 Michigan State takes a trek to the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma as they look to advance past the Miami Hurricanes (21-11) and advance to the second round with Versailles Tiger and current Sophomore guard Kyle Ahrens on Friday at 8:20pm.

Ivy League Champion Princeton (23-6) will have Ottawa Glandorf big man Noah Bramlage with them as they head east to Buffalo on Friday night for an early morning 11:15am start against ACC Tournament finalist Notre Dame (25-9) at the Key Bank Center.

Already in full swing with their team deep in the Division 2 bracket and with a Wednesday night date in Louisville, KY against Bellarmine University at 7pm, the Findlay Oilers are well represented by local products as they feature Bath’s Taren Sullivan, Defiance’s Katwan Singleton, Martyce Kimbrough of Lima Central Catholic, Elijah Kahlig of Fort Recovery, Ricardo Smith from Toledo Whitmer, and Toledo Central Catholic’s Trey Buford among their ranks.

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