During March Madness, the NCAA Division I teams—the so-called “big schools”—get most of the fan and media attention.

But after watching teams from the D-I Summit League play their championship tournament in Sioux Falls two weeks ago and now the smaller D-II schools play their “Elite Eight” tournament, it’s difficult to see a difference in the quality of the basketball.

So, what is the difference?

"To me, I don't think there is much difference, maybe size a little bit, these players don’t work any less,” said Coach Jess Strom of California of Pennsylvania, whose Vulcans will play for a national title tomorrow (Friday) night at the Sanford Pentagon.“Whether its Division I, Division II or Division III it just comes down to its basketball and we probably run the same plays and put in the same hours."

Her opponent, Coach Jarrod Olson of the California Baptist Lancers, agrees.

NCAA DII trophy
Photo by Todd Epp/Townsquare Media

“We have played some exhibition games against Division I teams and we beat Cal State Fullerton in the fall and we probably should have beat Riverside, but we lost to them,” Olson said at the teams’ joint news conference Thursday. “We don’t really view it as Division I or Division II, good teams are just good teams. I think we (CalPa and Cal Baptist) would both say that we would get our butts kicked by UConn, but so does everybody else at Division I.”

Tip-off is 7 PM Friday, with the game broadcast nationally on CBSSportsnetwork, locally on Midco Sports and live-streamed at NCAA.com. Tickets are available at the Pentagon box office or at Ticketmaster.

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