Let's do this!
For the eighth time in school history, the Lady Cards and Cardinals are competing at the national tournament in the same year. The previous seven "twice as nice" years were 1982, 1995, 1999, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
As was the case in 2016, the Cardinals (27-7) are the headline entry this year, having won the Region XIV championship just over a week ago. It's their fifth regional title and represents their eighth trip to Hutchinson, Ks. They are also in Hutch for a fifth time in the last six years.
The Cardinals drew a No. 15 seed and are scheduled to open tournament play today at 2 p.m. against No. 18 Shelton State (27-6). The TVCC-Shelton State winner advances to the Sweet 16 to face No. 2 South Plains (26-5) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. South Plains is the defending national champion.
The Cardinals are 13-8 in national tournament games.
The Cardinals are one off 11 teams returning to the tournament from 2018: TVCC, Northwest Florida State, Cape Fear, Central Georgia Tech, Odessa, Coffeyville, Eastern Florida State, Florida SouthWestern, Indian Hills and Vincennes.
The men's tournament is being played at Hutchinson Sports Arena.
About 475 miles to the southwest in Lubbock, the Lady Cards (26-4) will be attempting to cash an at-large berth into a fourth straight national championship game appearance. Making their 24th appearance in the tournament, they have played in 14 title games, having won eight.
The Lady Cards are the No. 14 seed and will play 19th-seeded South Georgia Tech (30-3) at 10 am. Tuesday. The TVCC-South Georgia Tech winner advances to play No. 3 Shelton State (29-3) at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The Lady Cards, who were the No. 20 seed year and went on to reach the title game, are 70-20 in national tournament games.
The Lady Cards are one of 16 teams returning to the tournament from 2018: TVCC, Cochise, Harford, Odessa, Walters State, Gulf Coast, Western Nebraska, South Georgia Tech, Salt Lake, Shelton State, Jones County, Wabash Valley, New Mexico, Hutchinson, Seward County and Northwest Florida State.
Defending champion Tallahassee did not qualify for the tournament.
TVCC is one of seven schools represented at both tournaments, joining South Plains, Odessa, Seward County, Northwest Florida State, Shelton State and Florida SouthWestern.
All Cardinal and Lady Cardinal tournament games will be available for viewing online at www.njcaatv.com. In fact, all tournament games will be webcast. Note: A subscription fee is required.
Gas prices are on the average the same as this time last year. The lowest price for unregular spotted on the trip to Lubbock was $2.23 and the highest $2.49. The average price was $2.32.
Here are the average prices the last 14 trips to the national tournament:
2004 -- $1.67
2006 -- $2.42
2008 -- $3.11
2009 -- $1.79
2010 -- $2.67
2011 -- $3.39
2012 -- $3.65
2013 -- $3.46
2014 -- $3.35
2015 -- $2.25
2016 -- $1.77
2017 -- $2.07
2018 -- $2.32
2019 -- $2.32
Weather will be perfect in both tournament locations today. The Cardinals are awaking to 38 degrees under clear skies. The high is expected to reach 58. It's 42 and also clear in Lubbock for the Lady Cards. The high is expected to reach 63.
OK, Cardinal fans back home, you know the drill. Wear your red and send positive vibes in the direction of Lubbock and Hutch!
-- BENNY ROGERS