May 08, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket) (Match Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the bracket for the 2012 NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championships, held May 15 - 19 in Mobile, Ala. The 61st annual event is hosted by the Mobile Tennis Center.
The 24-team field is comprised of 12 squads who earned an automatic berth by winning their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments, 10 at-large selections, one who earned an automatic bid by way of a conference regular-season champion in Fresno Pacific (Calif.) and one host berth, which went to Mobile. The 10 at-large selections were determined by the final NAIA Men's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll released Monday.
The single elimination, head-to-head tournament will commence with eight first-round matchups on May 15 starting at 1 p.m. CDT. The top-eight seeds received a first-round bye and will begin action on May 16 at 1 p.m. The event culminates on May 19 with the championship final slated for 2 p.m.
Fifth-ranked Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) leads all qualifiers with nine national championships won all-time. Mobile and defending champion Fresno Pacific follow with two apiece, while Azusa Pacific (Calif.), Belhaven (Miss.) and Oklahoma Christian each own one national title. Auburn Montgomery’s 36-5 mark in National Championship play is the best among this year’s qualifiers.
Two programs, second-seeded Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and fourth-seeded Azusa Pacific, have made the field every single year since the championship moved to a team format in 2000. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) had also made every one until having its streak snapped with yesterday’s qualifier announcement. A total of nine schools will be appearing at the National Championships for at least the 10th time since 2000. Eighteen of the 24 qualifiers also made the field in 2011.
On the other hand, four squads will make their first-ever appearances at the National Championships: Asbury (Ky.), Campbellsville (Ky.), Spring Arbor (Mich.) and Warner (Fla.), while Belhaven (Miss.), the 1983 national champion, is appearing for the first time in the team-format era. A total of nine teams will be seeking their first wins on the National Championship stage.
The GSAC leads all conferences with six members in the field of 24. The Southern States Athletic Conference is next with four National Championship qualifiers.