Preview: DI Men's Basketball National Championship
By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
2013 National Championship History and Notes:
● Nine athletic departments will be sending both their men's and women's basketball teams to the Division I National Championship. The 2013 Division I Women's Basketball National Championship will be played in Frankfort, Ky., March 13-19. Represented on both the men's and women's brackets are: Columbia (Mo.), Faulkner (Ala.), Georgetown (Ky.), Lee (Tenn.), LSU Shreveport (La.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Oklahoma City, Westmont (Calif.) and Xavier (La.).
● Four conferences claimed the most teams in this year's field with four among the 11 conferences and unaffiliated group: Frontier Conference, Golden State Athletic Conference, Sooner Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference.
● Concordia (Calif.) is looking to repeat as national champion and become the first to do so since Oklahoma City in 2007 and 2008. The Stars own an NAIA-record six national titles.
● Oklahoma Baptist holds the most wins in championship action with 58. OBU is 58-22 in 25 previous appearances. Georgetown (Ky.) is right behind with 54 postseason wins and is playing in its championship-record 32nd overall and 22nd-straight event.
● Oklahoma City has won six national championships, the most of any institution. The Stars won consecutive titles on two occasions (1991-92 and 2007-08).
● There have been two teams to win the title with an undefeated record -- Central State (Ohio) in 1965 and Oklahoma City in 1992.
● Since 1967, there have been seven No. 1 seeds to win the national championship. The last one to accomplish this was No. 1 Mountain State (W.Va.) in 2006.
● Conversely, there have been five unseeded teams to capture the championship with the last coming in 2011 with Pikeville (Ky.). The notable fact is that four unseeded teams won the title from 2005 - 11.
● From an historical perspective, March 10, 1937 is a date to remember. On that day, an eight-team tournament at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium was the beginning of what is the NAIA today. The field of teams was limited to champions of eight Midwestern conferences. Central Missouri State won the first championship by a score of 35-24 over Morningside (Iowa). The Mules received the Naismith Trophy, the only trophy that to this day, was officially authorized by the inventor of basketball.
● Three years later on March 10, 1940, NAIA leaders decided to expand the basketball tournament and form the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB). In 1948, the NAIB became the first national organization to offer intercollegiate postseason opportunities to black student-athletes.
● This year's championship will mark the 76th annual event, which distinguishes itself as the oldest national championship basketball tournament in the country, preceding any NIT or NCAA Tournament. Founded in 1937, the tournament has hailed national champions from 22 states from Maryland to Hawaii. The state of Oklahoma claims the most titles with 10 followed by Missouri with eight.
● In 76 years, the national championship has stopped in two cities, Tulsa, Okla., and Kansas City, Mo. The 2013 event will be in Kansas City for the 12th-straight year and 69th time overall. From 1994-2001, the championship was held at three different arenas in Tulsa.
2013 Championship Preview
The 76th edition of the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship will begin Wednesday with the first of 31 games taking place. Thirty-two teams will converge on Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo., with the national champion crowned on March 19. Coined college basketball's oldest national championship, the format is single-elimination and eight games take place the first three days, with the quarterfinals on Saturday and the Fab Four to run on March 18.
For the first time in the history of the championship, ESPN3 will broadcast live the semifinals at 6 and 8 p.m. CDT. The championship final will again be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, with tip-time at 7:35 p.m. For more broadcast information, click here.
The first 28 games will be available via live video stream, in partnership with NeuLion, the NAIA official digital media partner. For more video-streaming information and to pre-register, click here.
The field is comprised of 17 automatic berths from 10 conferences and one unaffiliated group (Association of Independent Institutions and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference). In addition, there are 15 at-large selections, which were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll released March 6.
The event opens with a match-up between No. 6 SAGU (Texas) (29-4) and Science & Arts (Okla.) (17-9) at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Immediately after the second game that pairs No. 3 Lee (Tenn.) (29-3) and Voorhees (S.C.) (22-11), the NAIA Parade of Champions will take place.
Top seed and undefeated Columbia (Mo.) (33-0) will take on six-time national champion Oklahoma City (17-10) Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Cougars are trying to become the third team in championship history to win the title with a perfect record and the first since Oklahoma City in 1992. Meanwhile, the Stars are back in it for the first time since 2010.
Defending national champion Concordia (Calif.) (22-10) punched its ticket by virtue of winning the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament. At one point of the season, the Eagles were 16-10 before rattling off six-straight wins to end the year. Concordia battles No. 12 William Carey (Miss.) (25-5) Thursday at 10:45 a.m. The Eagles look to become the first team since Oklahoma City in 2007 and 2008 to repeat as national titlists.
Local to the Kansas City area, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (24-9) is making its third trip since 2009 and faces No. 7 Cal State San Marcos (23-6) Thursday at 6:15 p.m. Cal State San Marcos, the At-Large No. 4 team, is one of five newcomers to the championship, joining Arizona Christian (20-9), Hope International (Calif.) (25-7), Philander Smith (Ark.) (25-7) and St. Thomas (Texas) (28-5).
Winner of the Mid-South Conference tournament, No. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (29-4) is playing in its 11th national championship. The Blue Raiders take on 2009 national champion Rocky Mountain (Mont.) Thursday at 8 p.m. Lindsey Wilson is trying to improve upon a 4-6 first round record, including two-straight losses.
A few household names that did not advance to this year's championship include Biola (Calif.), Mountain State (W.Va.) and Robert Morris (Ill.). Biola is a 19-time qualifier, including the last four events, and is 25-19 in championship action. Mountain State was forced to shut down in July of 2012. Robert Morris did not make it out of the Unaffiliated Group with a 17-14 record. The Eagles played in the previous nine championships, and advanced to three Fab Fours from 2007 - 10.
Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Municipal Auditorium Box Office.