MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Ben McCollum was not a popular pick when Northwest Missouri State hired him to lead its men’s basketball team 14 years ago. He was 27 years old and had never been a head coach, and he was being asked to take over a Division II program that had a proud and winning reputation.
The pride is still there. The winning? Well, these days the Bearcats almost never lose.
They are coming off a record third straight national title and their fourth in the last five NCAA tournaments, and they lost just one player from the team that cut down the nets again in March. That one was Trevor Hudgins, who became the first Northwest Missouri State player in the NBA when he signed with the Houston Rockets over the summer.