No. 3 Life University (Ga.) (26-10) vs. No. 3 Texas Wesleyan University (28-7), 7:02 p.m. CDT
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General Championship Notes
• The 80th National Championship this year continues the event’s distinction as the oldest national championship basketball tournament in the country. Founded in 1937, the tournament preceded both the National Invitation Tournament (founded in 1938), as well as the NCAA Tournament (founded in 1939), and has produced national champions from 23 states, spanning the nation from Maryland to Hawaii. This year marks the 73rd time the tournament has been contested in Kansas City, including 53 years at historic Municipal Auditorium, extending the city’s long tradition of hosting outstanding championship basketball on all collegiate levels.
• Since the national championship came back to Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium in 2002 (from Tulsa), the national champion teams have been diverse. In that time frame, five unseeded teams won the title while the No. 1 seed only took home the red banner once – Mountain State (W.Va.) in 2004. Pikeville (Ky.) was the last unseeded program in 2011 to win the national championship. Overall since 1967, there have been seven No. 1 seeds to win the national championship.
• Including the 2017 championship, the last 10 national champions will be different, with Mid-America Christian (Okla.) taking the 2016 trophy. Five of those champions in the last eight years – Mid-America Christian, Dalton State (Ga.), Vanguard (Calif.), Pikeville (Ky.) and Rocky Mountain (Mont.) – were winners for the first time in school history.
• The last team to enter the championship with an undefeated season record was Columbia (Mo.) in 2013. The 33-0 Cougars ended up losing in the Quarterfinal round to LSU Shreveport (La.). Overall, two previous programs have won the championship title with a perfect record, with Oklahoma City in 1992 and Central State (Ohio) in 1965.
• The state of Oklahoma claims the most championship titles with 11 followed by Missouri with eight. Oklahoma City University 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 48 states represented in the national championship -- Alaska and Wyoming are two states not represented. In all, there have been 574 schools (heading into 2017) that have qualified for Division I Men’s Basketball postseason action.
• Life looks to become the first team with double-digit losses to win the title since John Brown (Ark.) in 2005.
• Life becomes the second-straight team from the Mid-South Conference to compete in the championship final, joining Georgetown (Ky.) last year.
• Texas Wesleyan is the second-straight team from the Sooner Athletic Conference to appear in the championship title game as Mid-America Christian (Okla.) won it all last year. Overall a SAC team has competed in the tournament’s final contest in four out of the last six years.
Life University – Life will look to improve upon a 3-1 all-time record in the title bout, winning it all in 1997, 1999 and 2000 and runner-up in 1994... Life (Ga.) opened the championship with the very first game on Wednesday with a win over No. 6 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), 80-78 and it will conclude the event by playing in the national championship game... The Running Eagles are making their 16th appearance at the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championships, including their seventh in the last nine years...Life is now 26-12 all-time in the national championship...The Eagles improved to 9-5 this season in games decided by five points or less and overtime …With the semifinal win, the Eagles advance to the finals for the first time since 2000, when Life won the most recent of its three national championships...Life’s Keith Adkins is the first head coach in the tournament’s 80-year history to make consecutive NAIA Fab Four appearances with different teams... He directed Campbellsville (Ky.) to the Fab Four in 2016… It’s his third overall appearance, also coaching Campbellsville in 2008...Life is one of four Mid-South Conference teams in this season’s national championship and one of three - along with Georgetown (Ky.) and Pikeville (Ky.) - to advance to at least the second round...Mid-South Conference teams are now 7-3 in the 2017 Buffalo Funds NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Texas Wesleyan University – Texas Wesleyan advances to its second-ever national championship, with the previous one coming during their 2006 title run... The Rams are making their 15th appearance in the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship...Texas Wesleyan is now 17-13 all-time in the national tournament...Texas Wesleyan is back in the national title game for the first time since 2006, when the Rams won their first and only national title, 69-65, over Oklahoma City...Thursday’s opening-round win over Cumberlands (Ky.) was the Rams’ first national tournament victory since 2010, when they beat Central Methodist (Mo.) in the first round...The Rams are one of four Sooner Athletic Conference teams in this year’s national tournament, having earned an automatic bid by winning the conference’s regular-season championship with a 13-5 record...Texas Wesleyan is now 10-3 versus 2017 national tournament qualifiers...Texas Wesleyan is now 5-4 in games decided by three points or less or in overtime.