(New Orleans, La.) Entering the tournament as the No. 8 seed, the Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team will face top-seeded No. 2 William Penn in the opening round of the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship on Wednesday.
Loyola (22-9) will take on the No. 1 seed Statesman (30-3) inside the Duer Bracket on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. inside the Municipal Auditorium-Gymnasium in Kansas City, Mo.
Representing the Heart of America Athletic Conference, William Penn enters the postseason as the No. 2 team in the country and fresh off a tournament championship. Head coach John Henry and the Statesman head to Kansas City riding a 12-game winning streak and leading the country in both scoring and rebounding.
This will be the seventh appearance for William Penn in the NAIA National Championship and fifth in the last six years (8-6 all-time record).
The Wolf Pack qualified for the tournament as an at-large team after landing at No. 29 in the final NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll.
Wednesday game will be the first appearance for Loyola in the NAIA DI National Championship since 1946, snapping the longest drought between tournament appearances by any of the 32 qualifiers in year’s championship. The Wolf Pack’s last appearance in a NAIA tournament was in 1995 when the team qualified for the Division II Championship where it faced off against Concordia.
Featuring the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference honoree Johnny Griffin Jr. (SR/Chicago, IL.), the Wolf Pack’s 22 victories this season are tied for the second most in program history tying a mark set in 1946.
Wednesday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
This year also marks the first time in Loyola history that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have qualified for a national tournament in the same season.
Additional Championship Information
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast all 30 games live leading up to the championship final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament package is available at $29.95.
For more information on the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, go to NAIAHoops.com