Kansas City, Mo. - Head coach Tom O'Malley and the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team have received one of 16 at-large bids to participate in next week's 2008 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championships in Kansas City, Mo., when the seedings and pairings for the event were released by the national office Wednesday afternoon. The 32-team, single-elimination tournament begins on Wednesday, March 19, with only the top 16 teams seeded and paired up with the remaining 16 teams based off the final NAIA Ratings Poll. The Cougars will face No. 3 seed Lambuth University (Tenn.) in first round action on Thursday, March 20, at 10:45 a.m. central time game at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.
"Playing a team like Lambuth (ranked No. 3 in the final NAIA Ratings Poll) in the first round will be no easy task, but every team at the national tournament is tough," said O'Malley. "We have played against great competition before and our team will be ready for the challenge."
Lambuth comes into the national tournament with an impressive 28-3 overall record. The Eagles received an automatic bid for this year's NAIA National Championships by winning the TranSouth Conference Tournament title with an 88-71 win over Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.) Tuesday. Lambuth also won the TranSouth regular season title with an 18-2 league mark. The Eagles are making their third straight appearance at the NAIA National Championships after falling to University of Illinois-Springfield, 104-84, in first round action last season.
Saint Xavier has had an impressive season thus far posting a 24-8 overall record and finishing third in the extremely competitive Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular season standings with a record of 7-3. This marks the fifth time in the last six seasons that SXU has advanced to the NAIA National Championships. In fact, since O'Malley took over the program in 1997, his teams have qualified for the national tournament eight of the 11 seasons.Click here to see the NAIA National Championships bracketClick here to go to the Lambuth University Eagles website