The Gold Rush (21-12) received an at-large bid Wednesday to the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National Championship. Xavier will play Lewis-Clark State (28-4) at 8 p.m. March 17 — the second day of first-round games — at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
Xavier, Georgetown (Ky.) (25), LSU-Shreveport (12) and Columbia (Mo.) (6) have the longest active streaks of consecutive appearances at nationals.
Xavier is one of four teams seeded eighth. Lewis-Clark State is a No. 1 seed.
The meeting of Xavier and Lewis-Clark State will be their first. The Warriors, from Lewiston, Idaho, won Frontier Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
Xavier maintained its No. 29 ranking in this week's coaches poll after a 94-92 double-overtime victory against Tougaloo — the Rush trailed by 17 points in both halves — and a 75-67 victory against two-time defending champion and then-fourth ranked Talladega at the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
Lewis-Clark State is ranked fourth.
The GCAC has three teams at nationals for the third consecutive year and the 10th time in 15 seasons. Talladega, which dropped to No. 6 nationally, is in the tournament for the third consecutive year. Dillard qualified for the first time since 2003, but the Bleu Devils fell out of the top 25 despite an 84-71 victory Sunday at Xavier in the GCAC Tournament final.
Second-round games will be played March 18, followed by quarterfinals March 19, semifinals March 21 and the championship game March 22. The Xavier-LC winner will play Freed-Hardeman or Our Lady of the Lake at 9:45 p.m. March 18.
|NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll|
(first-place votes in parentheses — records through March 8)