Final Four includes sister school, Vanguard
Sooner Conference member, St. Gregory's, still alive
Evangel, Southeastern join SAGU in post-season tourney
KANSAS CITY, Missouri -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has eliminated 28 of the 32 teams who went to the 2014 National Championship tournament with hopes of wearing a crown after their final game.
Monday night the Fab Four will play with the winners advancing to Tuesday night’s title game, which will be nationally televised on ESPN3.
Only two teams among the Top 10 remain, No. 6 and No. 8.
The highest ranked team still alive is a sister school of Southwestern Assemblies of God University; No. 6 Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, Cal). The VU Lions are 30-6 overall and have won seven straight.
Vanguard will take on No. 18 St. Gregory’s University (Ok), a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference, at 6:00pm. The Cavaliers finished tied for second behind SAGU with a 12-8 league mark.
The other semi-final pits No. 8 Emmanuel College (Ga), who are affiliated with the Church of God. The EC Lions are 32-3.
Their opponent is MidAmerica Nazarene University at 8:00pm. The Pioneers, 26-10, bring a 10-game win string to the game.
Tuesday’s championship final is set for a 7:00pm tipoff.
Vanguard’s No. 6 seeding is the lowest among the foursome since 2009 when Robert Morris (Ill), at No. 8, had the highest ranking among the final foursome.
SAGU fans may be split on who to root for in the first game; fellow A/G school Vanguard or St. Gregory’s of the Sooner Conference.
Vanguard’s most recent triumph came in a 93-85 conquest of the defending national champions from Georgetown College (Ky).
A year ago St. Greg’s was last in the league with an 0-16 SAC record and was just 7-21 overall. The previous season they were also 7-21. In 2011 the Cavs were 5-21.
Their struggles go back even further, to 2010 at 7-20, and in 2009 when they posted just a 2-27 ledger.
Congratulations to Head Coach John Martin for leading the team out of the cellar to such a lofty position.
Two other sister schools qualified for the NAIA Nationals, Evangel University (Mo) and Southeastern University (Fla).
The Division I Evangel Crusaders (23-11) lost in the first round to Talladega College (Ala), 88-71.
A member of Division II, the SEU Fire (27-7), went 3-0 to advance to the semi-finals. They were thumped by eventual champion, Indiana Wesleyan University, 98-77.
or at 469-658-2847.