Men's Basketball: National Tournament Preview

Manhattan, KS - After winning the 2020 NCCAA Southwest Region Championship on leap day, the Thunder of Manhattan Christian College are heading to Joplin, Mo for the 2020 NCCAA National Tournament as the #2 overall seed. They will open tournament play on Thursday, March 12, at 4:00 pm against the #7 overall seed, Johnson University - Tennessee. While the national tournament will see champions from all four regions across the country it will have a rather familiar feel to Thunder fans as conference rival, Ozark Christian College, is the host school and will participate as the #8 seed. MCC won three contests with the Ambassadors this season, including knocking them off in the quarterfinal round of the region tournament 89-72. 

The familiarity continues with the participants as the #6 overall seed are the champions out of the North region and conference opponent, Faith Baptist Bible College. The Eagles and Thunder split their two meetings this season with MCC winning their 81-70 on senior night and dropping the conference tournament semifinal - at Ozark Christian College - 69-71. Randall University are also members of the field as the #4 overall seed. MCC took both meetings with the Saints this season, knocking off the then #1 team in the country 83-79 back in January and knocking off the Saints in the region championship 88-73 in overtime. 

The rest of the field is highlighted by the champions of the Mid-East region, #1 overall seed, Grace Christian University. The Tigers lay claim to six national championships over the course of the last 15 years, including four in a row from 2009-2012. The #3 seed, Great Lakes Christian College, were runners-up in that same Mid-East region, but boast probably the most explosive offensive team in the field. The Crusaders were 2019 National Runners-up. The #5 seed are the Suns of Johnson University - Florida. They enter the tournament as the champions of the South region. 

The Thunder will open up play on Thursday with the #7 seed, Johnson University - Tennessee. The Royals are led this season by 6'3" junior G/F, Coby Jones, who comes into the national tournament averaging 21.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg and shooting 50% from the field. Sophomore G, Gavin Grubb, runs the show for the Royals and averages 15.3 ppg and just under 5 apg while shooting 40% from 3pt land. The Royals earned an at-large bid after falling in the Mid-East region semifinals to the #3 seed, Great Lakes Christian College. Johnson University - Tennessee has been ranked in the top 10 all season and have been top five in the power ratings. 

Seeds: 
#1 Grace Christian University
#2 Manhattan Christian College
#3 Great Lakes Christian College
#4 Randall University 
#5 Johnson University - Florida
#6 Faith Baptist Bible College
#7 Johnson University - Tennessee
#8 Ozark Christian College 

You can watch all games at the NCCAA National Tournament live here ($).

Check back with mccthunder.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the week.  

MCC Scoreboard

2/29/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 4 Randall University | W, 88-73 (OT)
2/28/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 3 Arlington Baptist College | W, 94-86 
2/26/2020 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 7 Ozark Christian College | W, 89-72 
2/22/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 2 Barclay College | W, 91-80 
2/21/2020 | Womens Basketball No. 6 Faith Baptist Bible College | L, 67-62