The U.N.I. women team will stay as close to home as possible for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The Panthers learned Monday night that they will be playing in Wichita when they open tournament play against Michigan State on Sunday. U.N.I. was given a thirteen (13) seed in the Dallas region.

U.N.I. coach Tanya Warren says that she was expecting the Panthers to be an 11 or 12 seed. “I was a little surprised to be honest, caught me a little off guard,” Warren says. But she says she has told her team all season that they can only control certain things and they will go and play.

Of the sixteen first-round sites, Wichita is the closest to Cedar Falls, which Warren says will allow a lot of Panther fans to make the trip. Wichita is also a neutral site, which is even more important according to Warren. She says they are disappointed with the thirteenth seed, but playing at a neutral site is huge for them.

Warren says it will have a little feel of home as they play there during the conference season. Michigan State won the Big Ten regular season championship this season. Warren says that she hasn’t had much chance to scout the Spartans yet, but does know that they played a couple of the same opponents as the Panthers.

Warren says the Spartans split with Iowa, and played U-W Milwaukee and beat them by seven points, while her team beat U-W Milwaukee by over 20 points. Sunday’s game is set for a 6:30 tip-off. The winner faces the victor of the UW-Green Bay/Arkansas-Little Rock contest.

By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls