Beginning in the Fall of 2012, the War Hawks (20-8) - as well as all of McM's athletics program - will begin its NCAA Division II membership.
2012 gives McMurry's program back-to-back NCAA III tournament appearances. In all, McMurry made a total of four NCAA III tourney runs, also appearing in back-to-back seasons in 2000 and 2001. McM has a 3-3 composite record in the NCAA championships.
As for the matters at hand, McM head coach J.D. Isler is preparing his squad for the Pirates (24-3) on Friday.
Whitworth has won 11 games in a row, dating back to a January 17 Northwest Conference loss to Whitman College. The Pirates' other setbacks were to Montana Tech and perennial power Wisconsin Whitewater.
"It's a quick turnaround," Isler said of getting ready for his first NCAA game versus the Pirates. "They shoot the ball very well from three-point range and they have a big kid in the middle that they really like to isolate one-on-one. It's difficult to defend him because they shoot the ball so well from the outside. They're big, they shot the ball well and they hit their free throws".
As far as the War Hawks go, Isler thinks his team needs to stick to the things that have worked well for them this season.
"We need to control the tempo," Isler said. "We need to get up and down the court, especially make their big guys run. I think we have to be real aggressive attacking the basket. We can cause them some problems with our quickness and athleticism.
"We've just got to do what we've been doing and play real solid. We haven't panicked when we've been behind. We've just kept fighting and we've got to continue to do those things."
McMurry seniors Steven Jones, Bryce Hill and Jaden Isler are all averaging in double-digit scoring. Jones leads the trio at 17.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 49 percent from the field. He has 11 double-doubles on the season and has scored 10-or-more points in 25 of 28 games.
Hill has been deadly from beyond the arc, hitting better than 40 percent and 3.0 treys made per game. Hill's scoring average is at 14.0.
Isler is coming off an MVP performance in the ASC tournament last weekend. This season, Isler is averaging 13.3 points and 5.8 assists per game. He ranks 15th in the nation in assists and also tops the McMurry team in steals with 55 thefts.
The winner of Friday's game first game will face the winner of the Trinity (Texas)/Mary Hardin-Baylor match-up in Saturday's second round game at 7 p.m.