For the sixth time in its storied history, Georgetown (Ky.) College will be the No. 1 overall seed in the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament that tips off on March 20 at Municipal Auditorium.
The Tigers, 28-4 and champions of the Mid-South Conference, vaulted into the top spot after previously No. 1-ranked Benedictine (Kan.) College lost 74-65 to Peru State in Tuesday’s championship game of the Heart of America tournament, snapping the Ravens’ 29-game winning streak.
Georgetown will play its opener at the 82nd annual tournament at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 against 19-12 Rocky Mountain (Mont.). The tournament will tip off at 9 a.m. Wednesday when John Brown (Ark.) University, 23-10, faces Bethel (Tenn.) College, 24-8.
Benedictine, 30-3, will be the No. 1 seed in the Duer Bracket and face Westmont (Calif.), 18-10, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21. The Ravens appeared in the tournament in 2014, ’15 and ’17, going 1-3. Benedictine won the tournament in 1967 and 1954 when the school was known as St. Benedict’s. The Ravens are led by shooting guard Thomas O’Connor (13.5 points per game), Adam Kutney (13.2 points, 5.7 rebounds) and Eric Krus (12.2, 5.5).
Two other Heart of America teams will try to duplicate fellow member Graceland (Iowa) University as NAIA champion. Peru State, 23-10, led by conference player of the year Lyle Hexom (20.6, 10.3), will face William Carey (Miss.), 22-9, at 5:45 p.m. Thursday. William Penn (Iowa) University, 21-11, a semifinalist in each of the past two years, will face Vanguard (Cal.), 25-6, at 6:30 Wednesday. Graceland, the first Heart team to win the NAIA title, did not qualify this year.
Georgetown, making its 28th straight appearance in the NAIA Tournament, has appeared in a record 37 tournaments and its 68 wins are the most in history. The Tigers were also the No. 1 seed in 1994, ’96, 2002, 2008, and 2016. Georgetown won the title in 1998 and 2013 and has been runner-up four times, including a heartbreaking, 100-99 overtime loss to Mid-America (Okla). Christian in 2016.
A year ago, Georgetown lost to LSU Alexandria in the quarterfinals. LSU Alexandria, 28-3, is the top seed in the Liston bracket, and Touglaoo (Miss.), 28-4, is No. 1 in the Cramer.
2019 NAIA Division I men’s basketball tournament
At Municipal Auditorium
Wednesday, March 20 first-round games
No. 1 Georgetown (Ky.) vs. No. 8 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 4:45 p.m.
No. 4 William Jessup (Calif.) vs. No. 5 LSU Shreveport, 1:15 p.m.
No. 3 Missouri Baptist vs. No. 6 Loyola (La.), 8:15 p.m.
No. 2 Wayland Baptist (Texas) vs. No. 7 Arizona Christian, 10 p.m.
No. 1 LSU Alexandria vs. No. 8 Central Baptist (Ark.), 3 p.m.
No. 4 John Brown (Ark.) vs. No. 5 Bethel (Tenn.), 9 a.m.
No. 3 Vanguard (Calif.) vs. No. 6 William Penn (Iowa), 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) vs. No. 7 Campbellsville (Ky.), 10:45 a.m.
Thursday, March 21 first-round games
No. 1 Tougaloo (Miss.) vs. No. 8 Mid-American Christian (Okla.), 4 p.m.
No. 4 William Carey (Miss.) vs. No. 5 Peru State (Neb.), 5:45 p.m.
No. 3 Wiley (Texas) vs. No. 6 Cumberlands (Ky.), 10:45 a.m.
No. 2 The Master’s (Calif.) vs. No. 7 Science & Arts (Okla.), 9:15 p.m.
No. 1 Benedictine (Kan.) vs. No. 8 Westmont (Calif.), 7:30 p.m.
No. 4 Pikeville (Ky.) vs. No. 5 Talladega (Ala.), 9 a.m.
No. 3 Carroll (Mont.) vs. No. 6 St. Thomas (Texas), 12:30 p.m.
No. 2 Stillman (Ala.) vs. No. 7 Oklahoma City, 2:15 p.m.
Friday, March 22 second-round games
Naismith Bracket: noon and 4 p.m.
Liston Bracket: 10:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
Cramer Bracket: 5:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
Duer Bracket: 7:30 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Saturday, March 23 quarterfinals
Naismith Bracket: 5:30 p.m.
Liston Bracket: 2 p.m.
Cramer Bracket: noon
Duer Bracket: 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 25 semifinals
Naismith vs. Cramer champion, 6 p.m.
Duer vs. Liston champion, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 championship
Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.