The 79th annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship tips off this Wednesday, March 16 inside Municipal Auditorium. The single-elimination championship begins at 9 a.m. CDT and runs through March 22. Coined college basketball's toughest tournament, the national champion must win five games in a seven-day span. The first 30 games of the national championship will be video-streamed live at www.NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA's official video-streaming platform powered by Stretch Internet. The championship final will air on ESPN3 for the third-straight season on Tuesday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. The championship tips off with Langston (Okla.) and Cumberlands (Ky.) matching up at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The Red River Athletic Conference Tournament champion, the Lions are appearing in their fourth overall event - first since 2008 - and are searching for postseason win No. 1. Cumberlands, out of the Mid-South Conference, qualified as the At-Large No. 10 team. The Patriots carry a 22-10 overall mark into the contest. Local schools - Columbia (Mo.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and Park (Mo.) - are no strangers to the national championship. Park faces Mid-America Christian (Okla.) Wednesday at 3 p.m. Three games later at 8:45 p.m., Columbia battles LSU Shreveport (La.). On Thursday, MidAmerica Nazarene takes on Oklahoma City at 6:15 p.m. No. 1 overall seed Georgetown (Ky.) - ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season edition of the Top 25 Coaches' Poll - 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). Champions of both regular-season and tournament titles in the Mid-South Conference, Georgetown tangles with Wayland Baptist (Texas) Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. Four of the top 10 leading scorers in the NAIA will be on display in Kansas City. Corday Sims of Peru State (Neb.) ranks No. 4 in Division I with a 26.0 clip. He is riding a streak of 47-straight games of at least 10 points (including all 32 games this year). The last time he had a sub-10 point contest was Jan. 15, 2015 against MidAmerica Nazarene. Ranked No. 4 on the scoring list, Xavielle Brown (6'2''-F) of Park checks in with 23.1 points per game. Jordan Washington (5'10''-PG) of Talladega (Ala.) (No. 7 - 21.6 ppg) and Robert Waters (6'1''-PG) of Wayland Baptist (No. 8 - 21.2 ppg) round out the participants in the top 10. With the most regular-season victories entering the championship at 29-3, Biola (Calif.) boasts 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 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.). Two programs are making their first-ever national championship appearance: William Jessup (Calif.) and William Penn (Iowa). Conversely, five teams are appearing in their 20th-or-more event: Georgetown (35), Cumberlands (24), Oklahoma City (22), Biola (20) and Columbia (20). Oklahoma City boasts the most national championship rings in NAIA history with six. The Stars last banner year came in 2008. There are four other qualifiers with at least one previous national championship hardware: Georgetown (2), Faulkner (Ala.) (1), Pikeville (Ky.) and Texas Wesleyan (1). Courtesy of: naia.org
Player of the Year: Dalarian Williams (6'6''-F) of Life (Ga.) Coach of the Year: Brennen Shingleton of Texas Wesleyan All-Tournament Team Mike Harris (6'2''-G) of Langston Jonathan Beausejour of Life (Ga.) Dalarian Williams of Life (Ga.) Brandon Moss (6'9''-F) of LSU Alexandria (La.) Brian Sylvester (6'8''-F) of LSU Alexandria (La.) Ryan Harris (6'1''-G) of Texas Wesleyan Dion Rogers of Texas Wesleyan Najeal Young(6'6''-G-94) of Texas Wesleyan Charles Knowles (6'5''-G/F-93) of William Pe... [read more]
Gavin Bartlett (6'0''-PG) of Arizona Christian Andy Sessions (6'0''-G/F) of Arizona Christian Carter Wilson (6'3''-G) of Arizona Christian Ryan Sanchez (6'3''-G) of Avila (Mo.) CJ Bolton (6'4''-G) of Baker (Kan.) Taylor Johnson (6'2''-G) of Baker (Kan.) Nathan Stacy (6'4''-F) of Benedictine (Kan.) Justas Norvilas (6'6''-F-93) of Benedictine (Kan.) Bryant Wilkinson (6'3''-G) of Bethel (Tenn.) Aden Burton (6'1''-G) of Bethel (Tenn.) Caelan Tiongson (6'4''-G/F) of Biola Elliott Young (6'7''-... [read more]
All-Tournament Team Tyrone Sherman (6'0''-PG) of Union Mike Martin (6'4''-F) of Union Sam Vander Sluis (6'9''-C) of Cornerstone Cory Cox (6'5''-F) of Cornerstone Kyle Steigenga (6'6''-F) of Cornerstone Lane Mahurin (6'7''-F) of Indiana Wesleyan Bob Peters (6'3''-G) of Indiana Wesleyan Mike Cardenas(6'1''-G) of Bellevue Nick Hilton (6'1''-G-96) of Bellevue Bryan McGriff (6'7''-F) of Eastern Oregon Paul Stone (6'6''-F) of Union Most Outstanding Player: Paul Stone (6'6''-F) of Union Champio... [read more]
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