NCAA Division III announces 2023 playoff bracket

Photo courtesy Trinity Athletics

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Due to travel restrictions, many believed Trinity and Hardin-Simmons would meet in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs for the second consecutive season. The only question was whether the Tigers would host again or if the two teams would meet in Abilene.

The answer came early in the selection show Sunday evening, with a rematch set in San Antonio next Saturday afternoon.

Trinity’s only loss of the season came on the road against St. John’s in overtime in the first week of the season. The Tigers rebounded to win nine straight, beginning with a win over Mary Hardin-Baylor in Week 2. Trinity secured its third consecutive Southern Athletic Association title in the process.

The Cowboys are outright American Southwest Conference champions for the first time since 2004, which included a 24-14 victory over UMHB in Week 9. HSU secured the outright title with a 42-27 win over East Texas Baptist to close the regular season. HSU’s only loss was against Endicott in Week 3.

The winner between the Tigers and Cowboys will meet the winner of North Central (Ill.) and Belhaven. The Cardinals of NCC are the reigning national champions and defeated UMHB 49-14 in the national semifinals last year. The Blazers earned the automatic bid in the USA South and departed the ASC after the 2021 campaign.

With two victories, Hardin-Simmons could set up a rematch with Wisconsin-La Crosse, whom the Cowboys defeated 28-21 in Week 2.

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