Men's Basketball: 2021 National Tournament Preview

Manhattan, KS - A second chance is what the doctor ordered after the Thunder were beat in a top 10 matchup at the SW Region Tournament by Arlington Baptist University. MCC earned the final at-large bid to the NCCAA DII National Championships and will be the #6 seed where they will take on another at-large selection out of the Mid-East region, #3 Johnson Univeristy. If the matchup looks familiar that's because it is. These two schools were scheduled to play in the first round of the 2020 NCCAA DII tournament before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the tournament. 

"It's crazy how it all worked out this season. I know everyone was disappointed at the end of the 2020 season when COVID cancelled all of our tournaments and our off-seasons were put on pause. It's really amazing to sit back and think about everything that has happened over the course of the last twelve months and to be sitting here, right now, with the opportunity to play... man, I'm just so excited for our guys," commented Head Coach, Jordan Strom. 

The task will not be an easy one for the Thunder (17-9, 9-1) as they enter their 12th NCCAA DII tournament appearance all time. Johnson University (11-7, 5-0) enters the tournament as the #3 overall seed, earning a bid via the at-large selection process. 

"Johnson University is a household name and Coach Perry has done a tremendous job during his time there of competing for national championships on a regular basis. Their roster is very talented and it's led by senior Coby Jones, who is a player of the year candidate. Obviously, to advance we are going to need to be at our best," said Strom.

The Royals entered the Mid-East Region Tournament as the #1 overall seed where they dropped their semifinal contest to powerhouse, Grace Christian University, who would eventually win that region tournament. The Thunder would be victims of a similar circumstance as they lost their quarterfinal contest to #8 Arlington Baptist University at the SW Region Tournament. While both teams would fall earlier than expected in their respective region tournaments both would earn at-large bids to the NCCAA DII Championships this week. 

"Just with everything we've gone through as a team and the emotions of the last three weeks we are extremely thankful to have a chance to play this week and we're excited to have a shot at playing one of the premier teams in the country," commented Strom. 

Action begins on Wednesday, March 10th, at 8:00 PM CST when the Thunder and the Royals clash in Joplin. All games can be seen live on the NCCAA Network and heard live as long time voice of the NCCAA DII Basketball Tournament, Rick Cooper, provides a free play-by-play audio call of the tournament that is complete with pre and post game interviews and game previews. 

 

NCCAA DII National Tournament Field:
#1 Randall University (at-large out of the SW Region)
#2 Kansas Christian College (SW Region Champion)
#3 Johnson University (at-large out of the ME Region)
#4 Grace Christian University (ME Region Champion) 
#5 Arlington Baptist University (at-large out of the SW Region)
#6 Manhattan Christian College (at-large out of the SW Region)
#7 SE Baptist University (S Region Champion)
#8 Calvary University (N Region Champion)

Tournament Information: https://thenccaa.org/tournaments/?id=619&path=mbball2
Live Stream Link ($$$): https://thenccaa.org/tournaments/?id=486&path=network
Live Audio Stream (FREE): http://war.str3am.com:7570/live - Link will go live 30 minutes before tip off

MCC Scoreboard

3/13/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 4 Grace Bible College | L, 77-61 
3/11/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 7 Southeastern Bible College | W, 83-73 
3/10/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 3 Johnson University-Tennessee | L, 97-92 (2OT)
2/25/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 2s Arlington Baptist College | L, 88-81 
2/20/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 1 Barclay College | W, 109-90