It’s becoming a tradition in the Branson area. In fact it’s turned into the kickoff for the tourist season. The NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament is back at College of the Ozarks for the sixth straight year and it kicks off Wednesday. The 32-team field features teams from all across the country, including two from Missouri. William Jewell College of Liberty is the top-seeded team in the tournament and College of the Ozarks gets an automatic bid for hosting.
The tournament made its debut at Point Lookout, Missouri in 2000 and has since grown into one of the more popular events on the NAIA slate. About 25,000 fans are expected to watch the tournament. The tournament got immediate approval from the locals when College of the Ozarks made a run to the finals in 2000. The tournament will stay in the Ozarks for at least another two years. The NAIA extended the contract at College of the Ozarks through 2007.