Mike Kinnison

CLEVELAND — Delta State learned Sunday night it will host the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament beginning Thursday, and, as the No. 1 seed, the Statesmen won’t have to play until Friday.

The Statesmen (41-11) have a coveted first round bye and will play the Florida Southern-Valdosta State winner Friday at 3 p.m.

Thursday’s games match defending national champion Nova Southeastern, the third seed, against No. 6 West Alabama at 11 a.m., followed by No. 2 Tampa vs. No. 7 Miles College at 3 p.m., and then No. 4 Florida Southern against No. 5 Valdosta State at 7.

This marks Delta State’s first chance to host a regional since 2008 and the 10th time in school history that the Statesmen have served as hosts.

“We believed all along that our body of work had put us in position to host and we are ready to get to work,” DSU coach Mike Kinnison said.

The double elimination event is scheduled to run through Monday, May 22.

Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 12 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.