SAGU sets sights on Kansas City
RRAC champs on stage in tip-off game vs. USAO
Fans can follow the Lions' tracks to nationals
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- For just the second time since Southwestern Assemblies of God University joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics almost fifteen years ago, the men’s basketball team has qualified for the NAIA national tournament.
The tourney will take place during March 13-19 in Kansas City, Missouri at the Municipal Auditorium.
The 32-team was introduced on Wednesday afternoon and the schedule released during a Selection Show presentation (viewing link posted below) at night.
The Lions are honored to tip-off the entire tournament with a 9:00am game on Wednesday, March 13, when they face the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (USAO).
Fans can follow the action on-line on livestream video (see below for details and expense) or a LiveStats webcast.
The Lions qualified for the tourney based on winning the Red River Athletic Conference championship this season. Going 20-2 against league teams crowned them Jungle Kings for the first time.
The team's previous NAIA tourney berth was in 2006 when the Lions (16-18) advanced to the RRAC tourney finals against Houston Baptist University.
SAGU is toting their best-record in school history at 29-4, and are ranked no. 6 in this week’s Top 25 Coaches Poll.
The opening round opponent, University of Science & Arts, finished third in the Sooner Athletic Conference with a 17-9 record.
Six-foot-two senior guard Norris Rumpf paces the Drovers by scoring 16 points per game, and 6’8 senior center Brandon Cutler (13.3 ppg).
Jahseth Lloyd, a 6’7 junior forward, leads the squad in rebounds (6.8 rpg).
The green and gold are ranked no. 10 in assist-turnover ratio, reflecting well for how well the Drovers protect the ball.
Both the Lions and Science & Arts average close to eight three-pointer per outing.
SAGU and USAO last met a year ago in the season debut for both teams. The Lions escaped Chickasha, Oklahoma with a 69-66 triumph.
A preview of Wednesday's game will be posted on-line prior to the game.
Joining the Lions in the tournament field are two fellow RRAC members in the University of St. Thomas (28-5), who won the conference tournament, and LSU-Shreveport (24-6).
LSUS tangles with the University of Pikeville (26-6) at 8:45pm on Wednesday. St. Thomas meets Georgetown College (Ky) (23-8) at 9:00am on Thursday, March 14.
Click on the following nine-minute link to view the NAIA presentation of the opening round of 16 games.
Provided the Lions survive their clash against the USAO Drovers, they will take on the winner of the Westmont College (Cal) (25-7) versus Martin Methodist College (Tenn) (20-10) game.
The Westmont Warriors, ranked no. 11 in the nation, rallied for a come-from-behind 69-65 overtime win over SAGU on Thanksgiving weekend.
A possible SAGU-Westmont rematch would be played on Friday, March 15, at 9:00am.
After the opening round on Wednesday and Thursday, winners will play on Friday, Saturday and Monday leading up to the championship on Tuesday.
Quarterfinal action tips off at 2pm on March 16.
Follow the Lions' tracks
For the first time in the history of the event, the semifinals on March 18 will be broadcast live on ESPN3 at 6pm and 8pm.
The championship final, which will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, will start at 7:30pm on March 19.
NeuLion, the NAIA's official video streaming company of 12 select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting the first 28 games from Kansas City, Mo.
An all-tournament pass (28 games) is available for $29.95, while a single day pass can be purchased for $9.95.
For more information visit www.naia.org.
Coverage prior and during the tournament will be provided by the SAGU Athletic Department. Daily articles and features will be posted on-line.
The Lions will depart from campus on Monday morning, March 11, at approximately 8:00am. Fans are invited to a special send-off ceremony and prayer.