- No. 4 Louisiana State University Alexandria (29-7) vs. No. 5 Graceland University (28-10), 7:02 p.m. CDT
- Kansas City, Mo. | Municipal Auditorium
- Watch - ESPN3 | Listen - Sports Radio 810 WHB | Live Stats
- Championship statistical booklet
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – LSU Alexandria (La.) and Graceland (Iowa) do battle in the 81st annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship with the title on the line. Game tips off at 7 p.m. CDT from Municipal Auditorium on ESPN3. Both teams are appearing in their first-ever title contest. LSU Alexandria is competing in its fourth overall championship tournament, holding an 8-3 record. The Yellowjackets out of the Heart of America Athletic Conference is 4-0 all-time in its first postseason event.
General Championship Notes
- The 81st NAIA 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 74th time the tournament has been contested in Kansas City, including 54 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 2018 championship, the last 11 national champions will be different, with Texas Wesleyan taking the 2017 trophy. Five of those champions in the last nine years – Mid-America Christian, Dalton State (Ga.), Vanguard (Calif.), Pikeville (Ky.) and Rocky Mountain (Mont.) – were winners for the first time in school history.
- LSU Alexandria and Graceland are both playing in their first championship title contest. This is Graceland’s first-ever appearance in the national tournament. LSU Alexandria is competing in its fourth championship, all in the last four years.
- The last team to enter the championship tournament 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 576 schools (heading into 2018) that have qualified for Division I Men’s Basketball postseason action.
- Graceland looks to become the first team with double-digit losses to win the title since John Brown (Ark.) in 2005.
- Graceland becomes the first team from the Heart of America Athletic Conference to compete in the championship final.
- Both LSU Alexandria and Graceland seek to win the championship in their first appearance in the title match and would become the first to do so since Dalton State (Ga.) in 2015.
LSU Alexandria (La.) | Team Statistics LSUA is appearing in their fourth-consecutive NAIA National Championship since their debut in 2015... This was their second appearance in the semifinals after falling to Life University (Ga.) at last year's tournament in the Fab Four... They currently hold an 8-3 record in the national tournament... They are one of four teams from the Red River Athletic Conference to participate in this year's event and one of two teams from this conference to advance to the semifinals, alongside LSU Shreveport (La.)… The Generals held a 14-4 record within the Red River Athletic Conference and finished their regular season on a seven-game winning streak... They will make program history advancing to the national championship for the first time since the program began in 2015.
Graceland (Iowa) | Team Statistics
The Yellowjackets are playing in their first NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship and are 4-0 all-time in the national tournament...Graceland is one of four Heart of America Athletic Conference teams in this year's tournament field and one of two (along with William Penn (Iowa)) to advance to the semifinals...Heart teams are 8-2 at the national tournament thus far...Graceland is 9-4 against national tournament teams this season... Graceland has won its last 10 straight games, 11 of its last 12 and are 18-2 since Jan. 17... LT Davis is averaging 24.0 points per game for the Yellowjackets in the national tournament so far (in four games)... Jeremy Deemer's 13 points and 13 rebounds gave him his 15th double-double of the season; Deemer is averaging 12.5 rebounds per game in the tournament.