THREE AMC TEAMS EMBARK ON A JOURNEY TOWARD A TITLE AT NAIA DI NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Basketball - Tue, Mar. 14, 2017
ST. LOUIS – The final phase of the American Midwest Conference basketball season gets underway on Wednesday and Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri and Billings, Montana. The NAIA Division I National Championships contest their first round on those days, and eight AMC teams are still alive in the men's and women's events. Three of those teams take to the court on Wednesday, with the other five beginning their Championship runs on Thursday.
The AMC's first team will hit the floor at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday when the Park University Pirates (21-7) take to the court at the 80th Annual Buffalo Funds Division I NAIA Men's Basketball Championship. The Pirates will battle the Georgetown College (Ky.) Tigers in the first round in the Duer Bracket. The Pirates are making their seventh all-time appearance in the National Championship, and this will be the second meeting in the Championship for Park and Georgetown. The Pirates won the only prior meeting, which came in the first round of the 2010 tournament, 83-75. The Pirates are 5-6 all-time in the Championship, with their best tournament run coming in 1998, when they advanced all the way to the Fab Four before falling to Southern Nazarene (Okla.) – Ironically in a season in which Georgetown won the first of their two NAIA National Titles.
Approximately 15 minutes after the Pirates take the floor in Kansas City, the Columbia College Cougars will be the first AMC team to tip-off in the NAIA Division I Championship at Rimrock Auto Arena at Metrapark in Billings. The Cougars (26-6) will face the University of Montana-Western Bulldogs (23-8) for the first time in program history. The Cougars are making their 13th appearance in the NAIA National Championship, and they are seeking their first win since a 64-60 win over Campbellsville University (Ky.) in the 2009 first round.
Immediately following the Cougars, the top-seeded and undefeated Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions (33-0) will square off against the host Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears (13-18). The Lady Lions will be making their 21st-straight National Championship appearance. The Lady Lions have won 32 games all-time in the Championship, and they have won at least one game in every Championship since a rare first round exit in 2012. Montana Western is making their first trip to the National Championship since 2007.
The remaining five AMC squads – two in Kansas City and three in Billings – will open their National Championship quests on Thursday.