KANSAS CITY, MO. – The Iowa Wesleyan College men’s and women’s basketball teams have received their first round assignments for their respective NAIA Division II National Tournaments after the NAIA announced pairings for the tourneys this morning.
The Tiger will open tournament play at 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 against none other than defending national champion Oregon Institute of Technology at Keeter Gymnasium in Point Lookout, Mo., on the campus of the College of the Ozarks. The IWC women will open their tourney the next day at 1:45 p.m. against Concordia (Ore.) University at the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City, Iowa.
The men will be taking on one of the top programs in the country in Oregon Tech (28-5 overall), which won last year’s national title and is a two-time national champion. The Hustlin’ Owls won last year’s national championship, coming through the field as the 11th seed nationally and defeating Bellevue (Neb.) University 63-56 in the final. Oregon Tech has a 25-8 record in 10 previous appearances in the national tourney, and its 25 wins in the postseason are the most of any school in this year’s tournament.
The Owls come in as champions of the Cascade Collegiate Conference, which placed four teams in this year’s tournament. Oregon Tech finished the regular season ranked seventh in the nation and is the #7 seed nationally in the tourney. The Owls have been ranked in the top 10 for every poll of the season, and that included the first five polls of the season when the team was ranked number one in NAIA Division II into mid-January.
IWC will be looking for its first win ever in the national tournament, as the Tigers are 0-2 in two previous appearances in the NAIA Division II national tournament. Wesleyan lost in the first round to Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) 87-81 in 2006, and two years before that lost its opener to MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) University by an 84-70 score. Iowa Wesleyan also advanced to the NAIA Division I national tournament in 1995 and lost to Oklahoma City University 107-75.
The Tiger women will take on Concordia of Oregon, which like Oregon Tech is a member of the Cascade Conference. The Cavaliers (27-3 overall) are having a banner season and were the Cascade Conference’s regular season and tournament champions and are one of three teams in the field from that league.
Concordia will be making its first appearance ever in the national tournament. The Cavaliers come into the tourney ranked 10th nationally and their turnaround from last season is among the best in the country. Concordia’s 27-3 mark comes one year after finishing 15-16 and just two years after a 9-22 record in Head Coach Aaron Christian’s first season.
IWC is making its third appearance ever in the national tourney and its third in four years. The Tigers are 1-2 in their two previous appearances, and in their last trip in 2007 defeated Menlo (Calif.) College 63-50 before losing in the Sweet 16 to Taylor (Ind.) University, 67-61. In their other appearance in 2006 the Tigers lost to Northwestern (Iowa) College 93-78.
Iowa Wesleyan is one of just 11 schools to qualify both its men’s and women’s basketball teams for the NAIA Division II national tourneys. Of those 11 schools, IWC has the second-smallest of any of them, as Wesleyan’s enrollment of 850 is larger than only Sterling (Kan.) College’s enrollment of 653 students.
Both Wesleyan basketball teams go into the postseason ranked in the top 25 in NAIA Division II. The Tiger women moved up one spot in the polls this week to 22nd in the country, while the IWC men cracked the poll at the 25th spot after winning the MCC Tournament. It is the first time the Tiger men have been ranked since the final poll of the 2006 season, when Wesleyan was 18th nationally.
Both the men’s and women’s national tourneys will be contested March 11-17 at their respective sites. NAIA Tournament brackets are available on the official NAIA Web site at www.naia.org. KILJ Radio FM 105.5 in Mount Pleasant will be carrying broadcasts of both of IWC's first round tourney games both over the air and also at www.kilj.com.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
NAIA Division II Men's National Tournament Bracket
NAIA Division II Women's National Tournament Bracket
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