FIVE AMC TEAMS OPEN NATIONAL TOURNEY RUNS ON THURSDAY
Basketball - Wed, Mar. 15, 2017
ST. LOUIS – Five American Midwest Conference teams begin the final phase of their basketball seasons on Thursday, hoping to play five games in the span of six days at the NAIA Division I Basketball Championships. Three teams will play at the Division I Women's Basketball Championship, with AMC teams book-ending the day at Rimrock Auto Arena at Metrapark in Billings, Mont., and a pair of AMC squads will take the floor at the 80th Annual Buffalo Funds NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in Kansas City, Mo.
The AMC day will begin at 10 a.m. central time when the Lyon College Scots (27-5) – the third-seed in the Duer Bracket – will open day two at the Women's National Championship in Billings against the Bears of the University of Pikeville (Ky.) (21-10). The Scots and Bears have never met in program history, and both have a decent amount of tournament pedigree. Lyon has made the dance six years in a row, and Pikeville made a run to the Fab Four in 2016 before falling to the eventual national champion MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) Pioneers. The Scots are 1-5 all-time in the NAIA Championship, with their lone victory coming last season when they defeated Louisiana State University-Shreveport 58-48 in the first round of action. The Bears are 3-4 all-time in the Championship, with all three of their wins coming last season.
The second AMC team to tip-off will be the Columbia College men's team at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. The Cougars (26-5) will battle the Lewis-Clark State College Warriors (23-10) at 2:15 p.m. in the final game of session three of the Championship. The Cougars and Warriors have never met in men's basketball, and both teams are looking to reverse some of their previous tournament struggles. The Cougars are 12-20 all-time in the Championship, though the Cougars do have one second place finish in their 20 appearances in the Championship. Lewis-Clark, meanwhile, has just three wins in their 11 appearances in the Championship, but one of those three wins came last season over Xavier University (La.).
The William Woods University Owls (20-11) will be the next AMC team up, taking the floor in Billings at approximately 5:30 p.m. central time, in search of their first Championship victory since 2013 when they defeated MidAmerica Nazarene 79-75. They will face the Shawnee State University Bears (31-2). The Owls are 2-9 all-time in the Championship, and the Bears are making their seventh straight appearance at the NAIA Division I Championship after moving to Division I for the 2010-11 season. Combining their Championship records in both divisions, the Bears are 30-20, and they have been in the NAIA postseason every year since 1994 – and they won the 1999 Division II National Championship. The Bears won the only prior meeting between the two teams, taking a 68-47 win from the Owls in the 2012 Championship.
The Harris-Stowe State University Hornets (19-12) will make their first ever appearance in the National Championship at approximately 5:45 p.m., and they will square off against the Dalton State College Roadrunners (27-4) who are making their second ever trip to the NAIA Championship. The Roadrunners are 5-0 in Championship play, as they won the National Championship in 2015 in their only prior trip, and the teams have never met in their histories.
The night will wind up back in Billings, as the AMC will send the Lindenwood University-Belleville Lady Lynx (22-9) out in the final game of the night against Vanguard University (Calif.) (27-3). For the fourth time in the five matchups involving AMC teams, the two teams have never met. The Lady Lynx are making their first ever NAIA Championship appearance, while the Vanguard Lions have one of the best pedigrees of any team in the NAIA. The Lions are 27-17 all-time in 18 previous Championship appearances, and they claimed the 2008 National Title with a 72-59 win over Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.).