KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket | Video Announcement | Championship Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 32 qualifiers and bracket for the 80th annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship. The event will be held in Kansas City, Mo., at historic Municipal Auditorium for the 53rd overall time and 16th-straight year. For tickets, go to NAIAHoops.com/tickets.
Talladega, which boasts a 22-10 record, earned a fifth-seed in the field and has been placed in the Cramer Bracket. The Tornadoes will play, Southwestern Assemblies of God University which brings in a 23-9 record and earned a fourth-seed, on Wednesday, March 15 at 10:45 a.m.
The single-elimination event tips off at 9 a.m. CST on Wednesday, March 15, when No. 3 Life (Ga.) tangles with No. 6 Martin Methodist (Tenn.). The first three days, which encompass the first and second round, feature eight games per day.
The field is comprised of 14 automatic berths, 17 at-large selections and championship host berth Mount Mercy (Iowa). Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, conference regular-season runner-up, tournament champions or tournament runner-up, depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll released today, which can be accessed here.
The NAIA Network – the association's official video streaming home – will broadcast all 30 games live leading up to the chamiponship final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament package is available at $29.95. For more information and the pre-register, click here.
For more information on the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, go to NAIAHoops.com
• No. 1 overall seed LSU Alexandria (La.) – ranked No. 1 in each of the last six Top 25 Coaches' Polls – is the only undefeated team with a 31-0 mark. In just their third season of varsity competition, the Generals advanced to the NAIA Second Round last year as this marks their third championship trip.
• Other No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets are: William Penn (Iowa) in the Duer Bracket, Dalton State (Ga.) in the Liston Bracket and Carroll (Mont.) in the Cramer Bracket.
• Georgetown (Ky.) is one of the most decorated programs in NAIA championship history with records for most playoff wins (65), most appearances (36th) and most consecutive appearances (26th). The Tigers are 25-10 in first-round action, including winning five out of their last six opening contests.
• Cumberlands (Ky.) is second on the active list for most appearances with 2017 marking its 25th event. The Patriots qualified as the At-Large No. 11 seed out of the Mid-South Conference.
• Oklahoma City (23rd), Columbia (Mo.) (21st) and Westmont (Calif.) (19th) are next in line for the most active all-time trips.
• LSU Alexandria brings the most regular-season victories to the postseason with 31, followed by William Penn's 30 and two teams – Dalton State and Carroll – with 27.
• With a 47-15 championship record, Oklahoma City has posted an NAIA-record six championship titles, with the last coming in 2008.
• In addition to Oklahoma City, seven other teams have took home the championship red banner at least once: Dalton State (1), Georgetown (2), Life (Ga.) (3), Loyola (La.) (1), Pikeville (Ky.) (1), Science & Arts (Okla.) (1) and Texas Wesleyan (1).
• There are 19 repeat programs that competed in the 2016 event.
• Three programs are making their first-ever national championship appearance: Grand View (Iowa), Harris-Stowe State (Mo.) and Mount Mercy (Iowa).
• Within the group of 29 teams making a previous appearance, Loyola is snapping the longest drought. The Wolf Pack last competed in the 1946 national championship.
• The host conference – the Heart of America athletic Conference (Heart) – will send four teams to Municipal: Benedictine (Kan.), Grand View, Mount Mercy and William Penn.
• The event will see a new champion, as defending titlist Mid-America Christian (Okla.) failed to qualify. There has been a new champion in each of the last nine championships.
• Six conferences send four teams to the postseason, which is tied for the most in the field.
• The top two winningest active head coaches will be on the sidelines in Kansas City. Biola coach Dave Holmquist is No. 1 on the list with 947 victories heading into next week. Columbia coach Bob Burchard is ranked second with 745 wins. Others on the active NAIA top 10 chart are Steve Knight of William Carey (Miss.) (No. 5 with 654 wins) and John Moore of Westmont (Calif.) (No. 7 with 568 wins).
2017 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship Qualifiers
|Team||Qualification||Overall Record*||Appearances^||Champs Record||Last Time||Titles|
|Benedictine (Kan.)||At-Large No. 15||21-10||10th||13-8||2015||2|
|Biola (Calif.)||At-Large No. 3||26-5||21st||26-20||2016||0|
|Carroll (Mont.)||Frontier Tournament Champion||27-5||11th||9-10||2016||0|
|Columbia (Mo.)||American Midwest Regular-Season Champion||26-5||21st||12-20||2016||0|
|Cumberlands (Ky.)||At-Large No. 11||22-8||25th||17-24||2016||0|
|Dalton State (Ga.)||Southern States Athletic Tournament Champion||27-4||2nd||5-0||2015||1|
|Dillard (La.)||Gulf Coast Athletic Tournament Champion||24-7||7th||3-6||2016||0|
|Georgetown (Ky.)||At-Large No. 5||23-7||36th||65-35||2016||2|
|Grand View (Iowa)||Heart of America Athletic Regular-Season Runner-Up||20-10||1st||0-0||N/A||0|
|Harris-Stowe State (Mo.)||American Midwest Tournament Champion||19-12||1st||0-0||N/A||0|
|Hope International (Calif.)||At-Large No. 1||25-7||5th||5-4||2016||0|
|Langston (Okla.)||Red River Athletic Tournament Runner-Up||22-9||5th||0-4||2016||0|
|Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||At-Large No. 14||23-10||12th||3-11||2016||0|
|Life (Ga.)||Mid-South Tournament Champion||22-10||16th||22-12||2014||3|
|Loyola (La.)||At-Large No. 17||22-9||3rd||7-2||1946||1|
|LSU Alexandria (La.)||Red River Athletic Regular-Season Champion||31-0||3rd||1-2||2016||0|
|LSU Shreveport (La.)||At-Large No. 7||20-9||13th||8-12||2016||0|
|Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||At-Large No. 12||22-10||10th||9-9||2015||0|
|Montana Western||At-Large No. 4||24-7||14th||7-13||2016||0|
|Mount Mercy (Iowa)||Host berth||21-11||1st||0-0||N/A||0|
|Oklahoma City||At-Large No. 16||21-10||23rd||47-15||2016||6|
|Park (Mo.)||At-Large No. 8||21-7||7th||5-6||2016||0|
|Pikeville (Ky.)||At-Large No. 2||26-7||11th||11-9||2016||1|
|SAGU (Texas)||At-Large No. 6||23-9||6th||4-5||2016||0|
|Science & Arts (Okla.)||Sooner Athletic Tournament Champion||19-13||7th||10-5||2013||1|
|Talladega (Ala.)||At-Large No. 10||22-10||5th||5-4||2016||0|
|Texas Wesleyan||Sooner Athletic Regular-Season Champion||24-7||15th||13-13||2016||1|
|The Master's (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Tournament Champion||26-4||8th||6-7||2000||0|
|Westmont (Calif.)||At-Large No. 9||24-7||19th||20-18||2016||0|
|Wiley (Texas)||At-Large No. 13||23-9||5th||1-4||2015||0|
|William Carey (Miss.)||Southern States Athletic Regular-Season Champion||24-7||11th||2-10||2016||0|
|William Penn (Iowa)||Heart of America Athletic Regular-Season Champion||30-3||2nd||2-1||2016||0|
^ Includes 2017 national championship
* Taken from team's DakStats website