Story by Chad Waller | NAIA Staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship is ready to crown its 77th annual national champion as No. 6 seed Vanguard (Calif.) (31-6) takes on No. 8 Emmanuel (Ga.) (33-3) at 7:02 p.m. CDT Tuesday at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com. Click here on information to access ESPN3.
For more national championship information, click here.
• Both Emmanuel and Vanguard are making their first-ever appearance in the national championship final.
• The 77th annual winner will mark the 53rd different national champion since the tournament began in 1937.
• The state of California has won three previous national champions: Concordia in 2003 and 2012; San Diego State in 1941.
• The state of Georgia has won four previous titles: Life in 1997, 1999 and 2000; West Georgia in 1974.
• With two championship game newcomers facing off, this marks the first time since 2009 when two rookies were in the title game and unseeded Rocky Mountain (Mont.) defeated unseeded Columbia (Mo.), 77-61.
• With Vanguard representing the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) in the championship final, it marks the seventh time since 2003 and third time in the last five years that a GSAC program will be playing in the title contest. The conference is 2-4 in the title game during that stretch with Concordia (Calif.) winning it all in 2003 and 2012.
• Emmanuel becomes the first team from the Southern States Athletic Conference to play in the title game since Faulkner (Ala.) won it in 2001.
• No. 8 seed Emmanuel becomes the first eighth-seed to reach the final since 1999. That year, No. 8 Mobile (Ala.) fell 63-60 to unseeded Life (Ga.).
• Vanguard becomes the second straight No. 6 seed to reach the championship final. SAGU (Texas) lost in the title game as the sixth seed in 2013, while Concordia (Calif.) was the last No. 6 seed to win the championship with an 88-84 overtime victory against Mountain State (W.Va.) in 2003.
• The 42 points by Preston Wynne of Vanguard (Calif.) in the Semifinal win is one shy of ranking as one of the Top 20 best scoring marks. There are seven players tied in championship history for No. 17 at 43 points. The most recent 43-point total was done by Life's (Ga.) PJ Meyers in 2012.
• The state of California stands 3-8 all-time playing in the title bout. The last team to win it from the Golden State is Concordia in 2012.
• Current win streaks:
o Vanguard (Calif.) - 8 (longest win streak of year was 14 games)
o Emmanuel (Ga.) - 4 (longest win streak of year was 21 games)
• Points leaders of championship final teams in 2014 national championship (through 4 tournament games):
o Emmanuel (Ga.) - Michael Stanley: 22.0 ppg (tied - 16th best in tournament)
o Vanguard (Calif.) - Preston Wynne: 28.3 ppg (2nd best in tournament)
• Rebounding leaders of championship final teams in 2014 national championship (through 3 tournament games):
o Emmanuel (Ga.) - Michael Stanley: 10.3 rpg (12th best in tournament)
o Vanguard (Calif.) - Keith Mason: 8.0 rpg (tied - 21st best in tournament)
• Assists leaders of championship final teams in 2014 national championship (through 3 tournament games):
o Emmanuel (Ga.) - Adrian Justice: 2.3 apg (tied - 51st best in tournament)
o Vanguard (Calif.) - Chris Gorman: 4.0 apg (tied - 10th best in tournament)
• Steals leaders of championship final teams in 2014 national championship (through 3 tournament games):
o Emmanuel (Ga.) - Michael Stanley: 1.8 spg (37th best in tournament)
o Vanguard (Calif.) - Preston Wynne: 2.3 spg (15th best in tournament)
• Bocks leaders of championship final teams in 2014 national championship (through 3 tournament games):
o Emmanuel (Ga.) - Leon Sampson: 1.5 bpg (tied - 18th best in tournament)
o Vanguard (Calif.) - Zach Allmon: 0.75 bpg (tied - 60th best in tournament)
No. 8 Emmanuel (Ga.) College Lions (33-3)
• Emmanuel is 4-3 all-time in the national championship in two appearances (0-3 prior to this year):
o 2014: W, 74-62 vs. St. Thomas (Texas) in First Round | W, 73-51 vs. Cumberlands (Ky.) in Second Round | W, 94-89 vs. No. 1 Cal State San Marcos in Quarterfinals | W, 76-72 vs. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) in Semifinal
o 2013: L, 80-62 vs. Hope International (Calif.) in First Round
o 2011: L, 73-58 vs. Tougaloo (Miss.) in First Round
o 2008: L, 83-59 vs. Georgetown (Ky.) in First Round
• Emmanuel is the first team from the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) to reach the title game since Faulkner (Ala.) in 2001.
• The Lions have led at the half in all four games in the tournament.
• Michael Stanley has scored at least 20 points in five-straight games that includes all four games in the national championship.
• Saturday’s opening quarterfinal game saw eighth-seeded Emmanuel knock off top-seeded Cal State San Marcos 94-89 in overtime, making it the first extra-period game of the tournament.
• Emmanuel (Ga.) becomes the first No. 8 seed to reach the Fab Four since Robert Morris (Ill.) in 2009. The last eighth seed to advance to the championship game was Mobile (Ala.) in 1999, while St. Mary’s (Texas) was the last No. 8 seed to win the tournament title with a 61-58 victory over East Central (Okla.) in 1989.
• Emmanuel (Ga.) reaches the Fab Four for the first time in school history. The Lions, who were 0-3 in three previous trips to the championship, give the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) a team in the semifinals for the third time in the last five years. The last SSAC team to win the national title was Faulkner (Ala.) in 2001.
No. 6 Vanguard (Calif.) University Lions (31-6)
• Vanguard is 5-2 all-time in the national championship in three appearances
o 2014: W, 103-94 vs. Life (Ga.) in First Round | W, 81-70 vs. No. 11 Benedictine (Kan.) in Second Round | W, 93-85 vs. No. 14 Georgetown (Ky.) (defending national champion) in Quarterfinal | W, 108-88 vs. St. Gregory's (Okla.) in Semifinal
o 2006: L, 83-80 (OT) vs. Georgetown (Ky.) in First Round
o 1990 (formerly known as Southern California College): W, 102-82 vs. Washburn (Kan.) in First Round | L, 92-59 vs. Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Second Round.
• The 108 points scored by Vanguard in the Semifinal win was the first 100-plus point game in a Fab Four contest since Pikeville (Ky.) had 110 in the 2011 Fab Four.
• Vanguard led at the half by 10 points in the semifinal and averaged a 10-point margin in each of its four games in this year's tournament.
• The 14 made 3-pointers by Vanguard in semifinals marked a tournament-high this year.
• Sixth-seeded Vanguard edged No. 14 Georgetown (Ky.), 93-85, in the third quarterfinal contest on Saturday to earn its inaugural berth in the Fab Four. The Lions avenged an 83-80 first-round loss in overtime to Georgetown in their last appearance in the tournament in 2006.
• Winners of the Golden State Athletic Conference GSAC regular-season and post-season tournament titles, Vanguard (Calif.) gives the GSAC its second team in the Fab Four in the last three years and third in the last five overall. Concordia (Calif.) won the tourney crown in 2012.