The Campbellsville men's basketball team earned one of 17 at-large bids into the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, the national office released on Wednesday night.
Campbellsville's first game of the national tournament is set for Thursday evening at 5 p.m. ET from the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Tigers are the seventh seed in the Duer Bracket and takes on second-seeded Columbia College. The Cougars are ranked sixth overall in the final national ranking.
The Tigers are heading to the national tournament for the 12th time in program history, where they hold a record of 9-11 all-time. In Campbellsville's last tournament appearance in 2016, it advanced all the way to the national semifinals, before bowing out to eventual national champion Mid-America Christian University, 93-89.
Entering the national tournament, the Tigers are 23-10 and finished as the runner-up in the Mid-South Conference Tournament last week. Despite the loss last time out, Campbellsville has won four of its last five games entering its trip to Kansas City, Mo.
Columbia heads into the national tournament for the 22nd time in school history, which is the fourth most in the field this year behind only Georgetown College (37), University of the Cumberlands (26) and Oklahoma City University (24). This is the Cougars eighth-straight national championship appearance and Columbia has a record of 13-21 in its first 21 appearances.
The Cougars earned their spot in the national tournament after winning the American Midwest Conference regular-season title. This season, Columbia has posted a 27-4 record overall and lost in the opening round of the AMC Tournament to Lyon College, 65-61, in overtime. The Cougars have lost two of their last three games with all four of its losses this season coming against conference foes.
One of the four losses for Columbia this season came against Freed-Hardeman University – who Campbellsville beat twice this season.
The Mid-South Conference leads all NAIA Division I conferences with six teams headed to the national tournament. University of Pikeville is the top seed in the Duer Bracket, while Georgetown College is seeded third in the Naismith Bracket. Cumberlands and Lindsey Wilson College are both in the Cramer Bracket seeded fifth and seventh, respectively. Life University is the final Mid-South Conference team in the national tournament, where it is the No. 6 seed in the Liston Bracket.
Joining Campbellsville, Pikeville and Columbia in the Duer Bracket is last seasons national champion in fourth-seeded Texas Wesleyan University – who plays newcomer and No. 5-seeded Graceland University.
The winner of the Campbellsville-Columbia matchup on Thursday moves on to face the winner of third-seeded University of Montana Western and sixth-seeded Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Friday evening at 5 p.m. ET.
Thursday's meeting between Campbellsville and Columbia will be the first all-time meeting between the two programs.
Heading into action next week, The Master's College is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and is the top seed in the Naismith Bracket. Rounding out the No. 1 seeds in the four brackets is William Penn University (Cramer Bracket) and Louisiana State University-Shreveport (Liston Bracket).
Action for the Tigers begins on Thursday, March 15 at 5 p.m. ET from Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
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