By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 32-team field for the 23rd annual NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship. The event will be held for the 15th-straight year in Point Lookout, Mo., on the campus of College of the Ozarks (Mo.) from March 12 – 18. Fifteen programs are back after competing in the 2013 championship.
The official championship bracket will be announced live via a selection show at 8 p.m. CST today. Click here to view the free live video-stream.
The 32-team field is comprised of 21 automatic qualifiers, one host berth awarded to College of the Ozarks and 10 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released earlier today.
Defending national champion Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) earns an automatic berth as regular-season champions out of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Wolves (29-4) are making their 11th championship appearance overall and fifth-straight. Cardinal Stritch heads into the championship as the No. 1-ranked team in each of the last seven Coaches' Polls.
The Crossroads League and The Sun Conference each landed four qualifiers in the championship field. Four other conferences are sending three programs each: Cascade Collegiate Conference, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Great Plains Athletic Conference and the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Five newcomers are dotted amongst the qualifiers: Cincinnati Christian (Ohio), Northern New Mexico, Northwest Christian (Ore.), Reinhardt (Ga.) and Southeastern (Fla.). In additions to these programs, three other teams are searching for their first championship victory having made at least one prior appearance: Ashford (Iowa), Friends (Kan.) and Union (Ky.).
College of the Ozarks leads all NAIA programs with 18 championship appearances, which includes its 15th-consecutive trip. The Bobcats (21-10) are 27-16 all-time in the national championship. Since 2006, College of the Ozarks has shown a home-court advantage going 6-2 in first-round games. Overall, seven other programs have made at least 10 appearances at the championship.
Bethel (Ind.) is third on the all-time list for championship wins with a 27-7 record. The Pilots, who are playing in their 11th championship, are looking up at the 29 and 33 wins by Northwestern (Iowa) and Oregon Tech, respectively. Both of those teams failed to qualify this year.
Eight programs among this year’s qualifiers own at least one national championship, led by Bethel’s three crowns (1995, 1997 and 1998). Cornerstone (Mich.), who claimed the top prize in 1999 and 2011, is the only other current qualifier with more than one title.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 17 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting the first 30 games of the Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. Don't miss the live video stream of all of the action running from March 12 - 18. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For information on the 2014 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, click here.
2014 Division II Men's Basketball National Championship Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||Overall Record^||Apps*||Last Time||Champs. Record||Titles|
|Ashford (Iowa)||At-Large No. 9||23-9||3rd||2011||0-2||--|
|Bellevue (Neb.)||Midlands Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||28-5||15th||2013||20-14||--|
|Bethel (Ind.)||Crossroads League Tournament Champion||26-7||11th||2013||27-7||3|
|Cal Maritime||California Pacific Athletic Tournament Champion||27-5||3rd||2013||1-2||-|
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Champion||29-4||11th||2013||11-9||1|
|Cincinnati Christian (Ohio)||Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||19-13||1st||--||0-0||--|
|Concordia (Ore.)||At-Large No. 10||22-9||2nd||2000||1-1||--|
|Cornerstone (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Regular-Season Champion||29-4||12th||2012||26-9||2|
|Davenport (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Tournament Champion||27-6||5th||2013||5-4||--|
|Dordt (Iowa)||Great Plains Athletic Regular-Season Champion||28-5||4th||2013||4-3||--|
|Embry-Riddle (Fla.)||At-Large No. 7||24-7||14th||2013||15-12||1|
|Friends (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Champion||25-6||5th||2010||0-4||--|
|Huntington (Ind.)||At-Large No. 4||24-7||8th||2007||11-7||--|
|Idaho, College of||Cascade Collegiate Regular Season Champion||28-5||10th||2007||11-8||1|
|IU Southeast (Ind.)||At-Large No. 1||25-4||10th||2013||6-9||--|
|Indiana Wesleyan||Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion||26-6||7th||2013||9-6||--|
|Midland (Neb.)||At-Large No. 2||26-5||3rd||2013||2-2||--|
|Morningside (Iowa)||Great Plains Athletic Tournament Champion||25-8||4th||2009||4-3||--|
|Northern New Mexico||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion||16-15||1st||--||0-0||--|
|Northwest Christian (Ore.)||Cascade Collegiate Tournament Runner-Up||18-12||1st||--||0-0||--|
|Northwood (Fla.)||The Sun Tournament Champion||26-6||8th||2013||10-7||--|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan||At-Large No. 8||24-9||5th||2011||11-3||1|
|Ozarks (Mo.), College of the||Host berth||21-10||18th||2013||27-16||1|
|Reinhardt (Ga.)||Appalachian Athletic Regular-Season Runner Up||17-13||1st||--||0-0||--|
|Robert Morris (Ill.)||At-Large No. 6||23-9||3rd||2002||4-2||--|
|Saint Francis (Ind.)||At-Large No. 3||21-10||6th||2012||13-4||1|
|Saint Xavier (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||29-4||2nd||2013||1-1||--|
|Southeastern (Fla.)||At-Large No. 5||24-6||1st||--||0-0||--|
|St. Thomas (Fla.)||The Sun Regular-Season Champion||25-6||6th||2013||2-5||--|
|Tabor (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||20-12||8th||2005||7-7||--|
|Union (Ky.)||Appalachian Athletic Regular-Season Champion||28-4||2nd||2011||0-1||--|
|William Penn (Iowa)||Midwest Collegiate Tournament Champion||22-9||5th||2013||4-4||--|
* championship appearances, including 2014 event