Northern Colorado Bears Win Big Sky Conference, Earn NCAA Tournament Bid

Chris SorensenContributor IMarch 10, 2011

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 27:  Elliott Lloyd #11 of the Northern Colorado Bears brings the ball up the court against Kevin Dukes #21 of the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats during the fourth round of the Las Vegas Invitational at The Orleans Arena November 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Northern Colorado won 69-45.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The University of Northern Colorado Bears won the Big Sky tournament last night, defeating the University of Montana Grizzlies, 65-60.

With that win the university will be getting its first automatic invitation to the NCAA tournament. No doubt this was the biggest win the school's basketball team has ever had.

It's quite remarkable that the university has been able to have success so quickly. The university only started competing in Division I athletics in 2007. The future is definitely looking bright in Greeley.

Previously, the Bears competed in Division II, where the school won the 1997 and 1998 national championships in football. That was really the only athletic success the school has had, up until now, that is.

UNC is in the midst of an amazing season, going 21-10 overall with a 13-3 Big Sky record. Being in the tournament will only have upside, considering that the university almost never gets any national TV exposure.

Congratulations to Northern Colorado, its fans and alumni.

It's probably a bit unrealistic to have too many expectations for the Bears, as they will probably have a low seed, but you never know, they could become the next Cinderella.

Hopefully, the Bears won't be the only Colorado team in the tournament. If the Buffaloes can sneak in, it would make for a very happy March Madness around the state.

Can't wait to see those Dancing Bears.