By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
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 79th 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 52nd overall time and 15th-straight year. For tickets as low as $4 per person per game, go to NAIAHoops.com/tickets.
The single-elimination event tips off at 9 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, March 16, when No. 3 Langston (Okla.) matches up with No. 6 Cumberlands (Ky.). The first three days, which encompass the first and second round, feature eight games per day.
The field is comprised of 14 automatic berths and 18 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions or tournament champions depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released today.
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 2016 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, go to NAIAHoops.com
• No. 1 overall seed Georgetown (Ky.) – freshly ranked No. 1 in the latest Top 25 Coaches’ Poll today – checks in with a 28-3 season record. The Tigers own three NAIA championship all-time records for most wins (61), appearances (35) and consecutive appearances (25).
• Biola (Calif.) heads into the national championship with the longest active regular-season win streak at 10-straight games. The last loss occurred on Jan. 23 against fellow qualifier Hope International (Calif.), 66-54.
• The Eagles also own the most wins amongst the qualifiers with a 29-3 mark.
• Oklahoma City, who punched its 22nd overall ticket to the championship, boasts the most national championship rings in NAIA history with six. The Stars last banner year came in 2008.
• The other qualifiers with at least one previous national championship hardware: Georgetown (2), Faulkner (Ala.) (1), Pikeville (Ky.) and Texas Wesleyan (1).
• Trailing Georgetown for the most appearances, Cumberlands (Ky.) is next in line as the Patriots will compete in their 24th overall event and third-straight. Oklahoma City (22), Biola (20) and Columbia (Mo.) (20) are the other teams with 20-or-more trips.
• Fifteen programs will also have representation at the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship – Campbellsville (Ky.), Carroll (Mont.), Columbia (Mo.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Langston (Okla.), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), LSU Shreveport (La.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Oklahoma City, Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), Pikeville (Ky.), Talladega (Ala.), Wayland Baptist (Texas), Westmont (Calif.) and Xavier (La.).
• The host conference – the Heart of America athletic Conference (Heart) – will send three teams to Municipal: MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Peru State (Neb.) and William Penn (Iowa).
• The event will see a new champion, as defending titlist Dalton State (Ga.) failed to qualify. There has been a new champion in each of the last seven championships.
• Two programs are making their first-ever national championship appearance: William Jessup (Calif.) and William Penn.
• Within the group of 30 teams making a previous appearance, Peru State is snapping the longest drought. The Bobcats last competed in the 1966 national championship.
• The Golden State Athletic Conference and the Sooner Athletic Conference each boast five programs in the 2016 field, the most of any league. The Mid-South Conference and Red River Athletic Conference each landed four teams.
• The top three winningest active head coaches will be on the sidelines in Kansas City. Biola coach Dave Holmquist is No. 1 on the list with 920 victories heading into next week. Columbia coach Bob Burchard is ranked second with 715 wins. Rocky Lamar of MidAmerica Nazarene checks in at No. 3 with 701.
2016 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||Record^||Appearances*||Champs. Record||Last Time||Titles|
|Arizona Christian||At-Large No. 6||22-8||4th||1-3||2015||0|
|Biola (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Tournament Champion||29-3||20th||25-19||2012||0|
|Campbellsville (Ky.)||At-Large No. 12||22-10||11th||6-10||2015||0|
|Carroll (Mont.)||At-Large No. 8||21-9||10th||7-9||2011||0|
|Columbia (Mo.)||American Midwest Tournament Champion||28-5||20th||11-19||2015||0|
|Cumberlands (Ky.)||At-Large No. 10||22-11||24th||15-23||2015||0|
|Dillard (La.)||Gulf Coast Athletic Tournament Champion||21-10||6th||2-5||2003||0|
|Faulkner (Ala.)||Southern States Athletic Tournament Champion||20-13||10th||11-8||2013||1|
|Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)||American Midwest Regular-Season Champion||25-7||6th||2-5||2015||0|
|Georgetown (Ky.)||Mid-South Tournament Champion||28-3||35th||61-34||2015||2|
|Hope International (Calif.)||At-Large No. 3||26-6||4th||5-3||2015||0|
|Langston (Okla.)||Red River Athletic Tournament Champion||25-6||4th||0-3||2008||0|
|Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||Frontier Tournament Champion||28-4||11th||2-10||2015||0|
|LSU Alexandria (La.)||Red River Athletic Regular-Season Champion||28-3||2nd||0-1||2015||0|
|LSU Shreveport (La.)||At-Large No. 15||18-13||12th||8-11||2015||0|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||Heart of America Athletic Regular-Season Champion||25-8||5th||8-4||2014||0|
|Mid-America Christian (Okla.)||At-Large No. 4||23-9||2nd||2-1||2015||0|
|Montana Western||At-Large No. 11||19-12||13th||7-12||2015||0|
|Oklahoma City||At-Large No. 13||15-10||22nd||47-14||2015||6|
|Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||At-Large No. 7||20-8||3rd||2-2||2015||0|
|Park (Mo.)||At-Large No. 9||20-9||6th||5-5||2011||0|
|Peru State (Neb.)||At-Large No. 5||22-10||14th||6-14||1966||0|
|Pikeville (Ky.)||At-Large No. 1||25-5||10th||11-8||2015||1|
|SAGU (Texas)||At-Large No. 18||20-12||5th||4-4||2015||0|
|Talladega (Ala.)||At-Large No. 2||24-6||4th||4-3||2015||0|
|Texas Wesleyan||Sooner Athletic Regular-Season Champion||24-7||14th||13-12||2012||1|
|Wayland Baptist (Texas)||Sooner Athletic Tournament Champion||21-11||17th||9-16||2015||0|
|Westmont (Calif.)||At-Large No. 14||21-10||18th||20-17||2015||0|
|William Carey (Miss.)||Southern States Athletic Regular-Season Champion||20-11||10th||2-9||2014||0|
|William Jessup (Calif.)||At-Large No. 16||18-10||1st||0-0||n/a||0|
|William Penn (Iowa)||Heart of America Athletic Tournament Champion||27-6||1st||0-0||n/a||0|
|Xavier (La.)||At-Large No. 17||21-12||17th||4-16||2015||0|
^ According to team’s information on DakStats
* Includes 2016 championship appearance