Columbia College, Evangel, Culver-Stockton, and William Woods will represent Missouri in NAIA D-I tournaments. (photo courtesy Columbia athletics)

Columbia College, Evangel, Culver-Stockton, and William Woods will represent Missouri in NAIA D-I tournaments. (photo courtesy Columbia athletics)

Men’s Tournament Bracket

–The Columbia College men’s basketball team will square off against Belhaven University in the first round of the 2014 NAIA National Championship on Thursday, March 20 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. Columbia (31-2) has the most wins of any NAIA team and is making their fourth straight appearance at the national championship and 18th overall. In the Final NAIA Top 25 poll, the Cougars remained at No. 4 behind top-ranked Cal State San Marcos (30-1), Pikeville (30-2), and William Carey (27-2).

The Cougars capped off the AMC Tournament with a dramatic 86-78 overtime victory over the Lions of Freed-Hardeman on Tuesday night. Cougars head coach Bob Burchard was honored as the Co-Coach of the Year, the third straight season he has received the award and ninth time overall.

–The Culver-Stockton College men’s basketball team will open up play against Arizona Christian University at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 19.  The Wildcats (23-7), who are the 16th-seed in the 32-team field, is matched up against Arizona Christian, which will be making only its second appearance in the tournament. The Firestorm played in the 2013 tournament, falling to Oklahoma Baptist 83-73 in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats are making their second straight appearance in Kansas City and seventh overall. C-SC is 5-6 all-time in the tournament after going 2-1 last season and advancing to the quarterfinals. Arizona Christian (23-7) earned an at-large berth out of the Golden State Athletic Conference after losing in the their conference tournament 80-77 to The Master’s College.

–The Evangel men’s basketball team will play #7 Talladega (Ala.) in the opening round of the NAIA-I national championship tournament on Thursday, March 20 at 2 p.m.  
The Crusaders (23-10) are unseeded and qualified for the tournament through an at-large bid and are in the 32-team national tournament field for a fifth consecutive season. Their appearance will be the 12th national tournament trip in program history that includes seven NAIA-II tournament appearances and five in the NAIA-I event. 

The Crusaders are 3-4 all-time in the NAIA-I national tournament and have advanced to the round of 16 for three straight seasons. Evangel is 12-10 in their history in NAIA national tournaments adding their 9-6 all-time record in the NAIA-II tournament.  Evangel’s meeting with Talladega will be the first game between the two schools in program history. 

Women’s Tournament Bracket

–The Columbia Lady Cougar basketball team will take on Montana State-Northern in the first round of the 2014 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship on Wednesday, March 19. Columbia (26-7) is ranked 10th in the Final NAIA Top 25 poll after a runner-up finish in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) regular season and postseason tournament.

The Skylights of Montana State-Northern were an at-large selection after being ranked 21st in the final poll that was released earlier today. With a 21-9 record coming into the Championships, the Skylights are making their 11th trip to the national playoff and they hold a 7-10 record at the tournament after making their first return trip since 2006. MSU-Northern is led by junior forward A’jha Edwards. Edwards was a first team all-conference and Newcomer of the Year selection for the Frontier Athletic Conference.

Tip-off for Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky.

–The William Woods University women’s basketball team will face a stiff opponent in the first round, as they will take on No. 3 Westminster College (Utah). The Owls will play on Thursday, Mar. 20, with tip-off set for 1:15 p.m. CST.

William Woods earned the eighth seed, and will take on the bracket’s top team in No. 3 Westminster College. The Owls went 22-10 in the regular season, and won nine of their final 12 contests to earn the tournament’s final at-large bid. This is the sixth straight NAIA National Tournament appearance for WWU, and their seventh overall as a school.