FORT WAYNE – Despite not winning their respective conference tournament championships, the mens basketball teams from Saint Francis and Indiana Tech will be playing in the NAIA Division II national tournament.
Pairings were released Wednesday for the 32-team tournament, which is March 7-13 at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo., near Branson.
Saint Francis (21-12), ranked No. 23, will play No. 10 seed Jamestown (N.D.) (25-6) at 11:15 a.m. March 8. The Cougars, who lost at Grace in the Mid-Central Conference tournament championship game Tuesday, won the national title in 2010 and finished as the runner-up last year.
Tech (23-7) remained at No. 18 in the NAIA poll and will play No. 12 seed St. Thomas (Fla.) (22-8) at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. The Warriors lost to top-seeded Davenport in the semifinals of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.
In addition to the two Fort Wayne-based schools, Grace, which moved up from 13th to 11th in the recent poll, will also play in the NAIA tournament.
The Lancers (24-7), who will play Briar Cliff (Iowa) (21-10) at 8:30 p.m. March 8, received an automatic berth by winning the MCC tournament against Saint Francis.
To finally make it official that were heading down there is a relief, Saint Francis coach Chad LaCross said. Im happy for our guys to get an opportunity to play in March and play in one of the best basketball tournaments there is.
Saint Francis had a three-game winning streak broken in its loss to Grace, while Indiana Techs six-game string was ended by Davenport, ranked No. 4 in the nation.