By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Sports Information & Media Services
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Bracket) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the bracket for the 21st Annual Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The 32-team, single elimination format will take place from March 7 - 13 in Point Lookout, Mo., on the campus of College of the Ozarks.
The tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. CST on the first three days, with eight games scheduled. March 10 sees quarterfinal action beginning at 1 p.m. and the semifinals are set for March 12 at 6 and 8 p.m. The Championship final, which will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, will be tipped at 6 p.m. on March 13.
NeuLion is the NAIA's Digital Media Partner and official video-streaming company of 10 select NAIA National Championship events. The first 30 matches from Point Lookout, Mo., will be available via live video stream for $29.95 and any single day can be purchased for $9.95. Also, one can purchase the all-tournament package of all four basketball tournaments for $49.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
No. 9 Northwestern (Iowa) will face Tennessee Wesleyan in the events first contest at 8:30 a.m. on March 7. Northwestern is tied for the all-time National Championship wins record of 28 with No. 2 Oregon Tech.
Defending national champion Cornerstone (Mich.) is one of 16 unseeded programs and takes on No. 8 Northwest (Wash.) on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. The Golden Eagles won their second overall title (1999) last year and became the first No. 3 seed to win it all since 1996.
No. 1-ranked in the Coaches' Poll, Northwood (Fla.) earns the top seed for the first time in school history. The Seahawks are looking to become the sixth different program since 1992 to win the title as the No. 1 seed. Northwood is tied with No. 5 McPherson (Kan.) for the most wins on the season (30). The champions out of The Sun Conference will do battle against the host school, College of the Ozarks, on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Ozarks is making its tournament-record 16th trip to the event. The Bobcats are one of five qualifiers to be playing it their 10th-or-more event.
Rookies Cal Maritime and Lourdes (Ohio) will compete against top-five seeds. The Keelhaulers will play No. 4 Dordt (Iowa) on Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. In just its second year of varsity existence, Lourdes faces No. 2 Oregon Tech on Thursday at Noon.
Three conferences landed four programs in the championship field, which is the most among any conference or independent. The Cascade Collegiate Conference, Mid-Central College Conference and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference all send a quartet to Point Lookout.