Langston University joins three Gulf Coast Athletic Conference teams to compete for the 2016 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship this season. With Talladega, Dillard, and Xavier all headed to this year's tournament, this is the third consecutive year that the GCAC has recieved three bids.
Talladega, the GCAC regular season champion, is the No. 2 seed in the Duer Bracket and will face No. 7 Westmont (Calif.) with the winner facing either No. 3 Langston (Okla.) or No. 6 Cumberlands (Ky.) Talladega is appearing in the NAIA tournament for the fourth time in school history and its third consecutive. The Tornadoes have a 4-3 record in the NAIA Tournament and made it to the national semifinals last season.
Dillard, the GCAC tournament champion, enters the tournament at the No. 7 seed in the Liston Bracket where they will take on second-seeded Hope International (Calif.). The winner of that game will go on to play either No. 3 Texas Wesleyan or No. 6 Campbellsville (Ky.). The Bleu Devils will be making their sixth tournament appearance, their first since 2003. Dillard is 2-5 all-time in tounament play.
Xavier is the No. 8 seed in the Cramer Bracket after qualifying with an at-large bid. The Gold Rush will face No. 1 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) in the first round. The winner will face either No. 4 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) or No. 5 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas). Xavier returns to the tournament for the 17th time in school history and for the sixth consecutive season. The Gold Rush has a 4-16 record in the tournament.
The reigning Red River conference champion Langston Lions (25-6) received an automatic berth after winning the RRAC tournament and were seeded third in the Duer Bracket; Langston kicks off the tournament on Wednesday, March 16 at 9 a.m. where they'll face the sixth-seed Cumberland (Ky.) (22-11) at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
Langston makes its fourth appearance on the national stage and first since the 2008 season; the Lions hold an all-time record of 0-3 at the national tournament.
The single-elimination event tips off at 9 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, March 16, when No. 3 Langston matches up with No. 6 Cumberlands (Ky.). The first three days, which encompass the first and second round, feature eight games per day.
The field is comprised of 14 automatic berths and 18 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions or tournament champions depending on the league. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25.
The NAIA Network – the association's official video streaming home – will broadcast all 30 games live leading up to the chamiponship final on ESPN3. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile.