After ending their season on a hot streak, the Hoosiers got the news they wanted and are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 22nd time in program history.
IU was given a No. 14 seed in the Bryan, Texas, region that seeded 18 teams total. The first round starts May 5 and goes through May 7 at the Traditions Club in Bryan.
This was the first time since 2013 the Hoosiers received a bid to culminate a season that saw them finish seventh at the Big Ten Championships. That finish was the best IU team finish since a fifth-place finish in 2013.
This will mark IU Coach Clint Wallman’s fifth NCAA appearance, and he said he was relieved when they got the news they made it in this season.
“It’s a big step for the girls, obviously validation that they really did something special this spring to put themselves in position,” Wallman said. “I think it’s just fantastic to see them rewarded for all of that hard work.”
Wallman has said all season long the mantra of this team was “what’s my target,” and the phrase was labeled the three most important words in golf. Now at the culmination of the regular season, he said it absolutely was the target they were aiming for all season long.
“We told the girls, to quote the great Jim Valvano, ‘Survive and advance,’” Wallman said. “We survived a really slow start into February, but bucked up and got it done and advanced into the postseason.”
Now for this team heading into the NCAA Tournament, it will all be a bit new as none of the golfers on this team competed in 2013 when they made it last time.
“It’s all brand new now and with the mindset that they possess, I think it’s going to be really fantastic,” Wallman said. “I think there is a lot of really good golf in front of them.”
Last weekend at the Big Ten Championships, IU had four players finish tied for 25th or better, which was the most at a Big Ten Championship since 2008. Wallman said it definitely will prepare his team for what lies ahead.
“We weren’t at our best from an execution standpoint, but we were at our best from a playing hard standpoint,” Wallman said. “I think they are definitely prepared.”
IU joins Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan as the one of six Big Ten programs to advance to the postseason.
IU will have to place in the top six as a team to advance, but could still have representatives individually at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, if they have someone place in the top three.
Wallman said the team’s mindset while preparing for the tournament doesn’t need to change, but that it could be more important.
“I think it’s even more important because normally you go to win golf tournaments, but here, the top six advance,” Wallman said. “I think the focus still has to be the same. They’ve done a really good job, so there is really no reason to change.”
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