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GAMEDAY DOWNLOAD: NAIA DII MEN'S TOURNAMENT

02/28/2019, 9:00am CST
By Sanford Media Relations

KANSAS CITY, MO - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 32 qualifiers for the 28th annual NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Athletic Care. The event takes place at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, March 6-12.

Fans interested in purchasing single session tickets can do so at the Sanford Pentagon Box Office, online at ticketmaster.com, any Ticketmaster outlet or by calling 800-745-3000. All-Session passes are also available.

This year’s field consists of 23 automatic berths and nine at-large spots. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, regular-season runners-up, tournament champions or tournament runners-up depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released today. To access the poll, click here.

“We are extremely excited to welcome the NAIA DII Men’s Basketball Championship back to Sioux Falls and can’t wait to welcome these 32 teams to our city,” said Thomas Lee, executive director of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority. “The NAIA, along with Dakota State University and Northwestern College have been great partners and we can’t wait to bring another fantastic tournament to Sioux Falls and the Sanford Pentagon!”

“We are thrilled for the NAIA DII Men’s Basketball National Championships to be back at the Sanford Pentagon for the second year, and congratulations to all the teams that will be journeying to Sioux Falls next week,” said Matt Ditmanson, director of business development at the Sanford Sports Complex. “A tournament that will end with the crowning of a national champion is what the Sanford Sports Complex was built for. It will be another exciting week of basketball, and we thank the NAIA and the Sioux Falls Sports Authority for their excellent work in bringing a fantastic event to our city.”

The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast the first 30 games leading up to the championship final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users to access 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 $34.95.

Qualifier Notes

• Defending national champion Indiana Wesleyan enters the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed looking to become only the second team in Division II men’s basketball history to win back-to-back national titles. Bethel (Ind.) accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998.

• This will be Indiana Wesleyan’s 12th trip to the national tournament. The Wildcats hold an overall record of 28-5 and leads the Crossroads League with a 14-4 record. The team also leads the division in field goal percentage (0.539).

• Twenty teams return to the championship from the 2018 field.

• Eight teams have made at least 10 appearances at the national championship. College of the Ozarks (Mo.) leads the group as 2019 will mark the Bobcats 22nd time competing in the tournament. Oregon Tech and Cornerstone (Mich.) are next with 17 appearances each.

• Three different institutions in this year’s tournament have won three national titles. Cornerstone (1999, 2011, 2015), Oregon Tech (2004, 2008, 2012), Indiana Wesleyan (2014, 2016, 2018) pace the field with three national titles each.

• IU Kokomo (Ind.) and Ave Maria (Fla.) all making their first-ever trip to the national championship.

*Be social and win Pentagon gear
Use the hashtag #46in12 during the game to be a part of the conversation and win free Sanford Pentagon gear. There will be 46 basketball games played in 12 days at the Pentagon, and we will be giving away a t-shirt every day of the action through social media. Your posts could also be featured on our video boards during the games.

Facility facts
The cornerstone of the Sanford Sports Complex in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the Sanford Pentagon, a 160,000-square-foot, five-sided facility featuring nine basketball courts, including the 1950s/1960s-inspired Heritage Court. The venue combines state-of-the-art amenities—including high-definition video boards and executive suites—with period-specific finishes that are a nod to the nostalgic days of basketball. The 3,200-seat Pentagon is home to Sanford POWER Basketball Academy, Sanford POWER Volleyball Academy, the NBA G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament and the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Parking and accommodations
Parking at the Sanford Pentagon is available on the east, west and north side of the facility. Need to eat? Blue Rock Bar and Grill is now open with a new space and new menu. The Pentagon includes full-service concession stands. Want to stay close to the arena? The Fairfield Inn & Suites is also across the street. The venue also has an official team store and several ATM stations.

Special features
The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame calls the Sanford Pentagon home. Visitors can enjoy the free exhibit that includes historical photos, records and memorabilia. In fact, the entire facility is trek to a different era. The Pentagon took great care to include old photos, jerseys and mementos throughout the venue. One of this year’s new elements highlights former high school championship teams. That’s available for viewing on the second level.

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