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Men's Basketball - Wed, Mar. 2, 2016

March 3, 2016

Bracket | Championship Schedule | Video Announcement

MADISON, S.D. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the teams and pairings for the 2016 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship.  The 32-team event will get underway on March 9 with the Championship game on Tuesday, March 15 at Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks (Mo.) in Point Lookout, Mo.

This year's field includes 23 automatic qualifiers, 8 at-large selections and one host berth (College of Ozarks, Mo.).  Automatic berths were given to teams that either won their respective conference tournament title, regular-season championship, finished runner-up at the conference tournament or won the conference tournament consolation game.  The at-large bids were determined by the final 2016 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll announced Wednesday. The Trojans received 12 votes to the national poll.

Dakota State (S.D.), who gained their automatic bid to the national tournament by winning the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Postseason Conference Tournament with an overall record of 19-13 (10-4 NSAA conference record), will face the top overall team of St. Francis (Ind.) in the opening round of the national tournament on Wednesday, March 9 at 1:45 p.m. 

The Trojans, currently on a school-record nine-game winning streak and won 13 times in the last 15 games after starting the season with a 6-11 overall record, were given as No. 8 seed in the Naismith Bracket.  Dakota State will be making their fourth trip to Point Lookout for the fourth time in the last five years.  DSU will be making their fifth overall appearance to the national tournament in men's basketball program history.

The Cougars moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the final NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 national rankings before the brackets were announced.  St. Francis (29-4 overall record) was awarded the automatic bid by winning the Crossroads League Tournament title.  The Cougars – who also won the regular-season conference title – defeated Indiana Wesleyan by the score of 81-80 in the Crossroads tournament's final.

The winner of Dakota State-St. Francis game will face the winner of Wednesday's 10:15 a.m. game between No. 4 seed Mount Mercy-No. 5 seed Southern Oregon on Friday at 10:15 a.m. in the Naismith bracket.  The other first round match-ups in the Naismith bracket include No. 3 Keiser (Fla.) versus No. 6 seed Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and No. 2 seed Cornerstone (Mich.) vs. No. 7 seed Cincinnati Christian (Ohio) Wednesday at 12 noon.

The NAIA Network – the association official video streaming home – will video-stream all 30 games live leading up to the 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.

Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director

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