KANSAS CITY – For the first time in over a decade, the Taylor University men's basketball team will compete in the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament, after the Trojans claimed the last of nine at-large bids to punch their ticket to Point Lookout, Missouri.
No. 25 Taylor claimed the seventh-seed in the Naismith Bracket and will make its 15th all-time appearance in the NAIA National Tournament and its first since 2006, when it takes on No. 8 and second-seeded Warner (26-4) on Wednesday, March 8 and 5:00 pm (ET). The entire 32-team tournament will be played inside Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks from March 8 through March 14.
The Trojans are 6-14 all-time in the NAIA National Tournament, with wins in 2006, 1994, 1991 and 1987. Taylor is 4-10 all-time in the first round, has advanced to the Elite Eight on two occasions and reached the program's only Final Four in 1991. TU's last win at Nationals came via a 63-52 victory against Aquinas in 2006.
TU rose one spot in the final NAIA Men's Basketball Division II Top-25 Poll, which was announced along with the championship bracket, and moved into position for the final at-large bid with the return to the top-25 ranking.
Taylor owns a 20-11 overall mark, boasting its first 20-win season since 2012-2013 and the 27th in program history. The Trojans tied for third in the Crossroads League with an 11-7 clip in league play and scored impressive wins over now No. 3 Bethel and No. 10 Davenport to further bolster their at-large resume.
TU will open with No. 8 and second-seeded Warner, after the Royals clinched an automatic bid as The Sun Conference Tournament Champions. Warner advanced to the Elite Eight last season, before falling to Davenport.
The winner of the Taylor and Warner contest will advance to play the winner of No. 11 and third-seeded Trinity International (28-5) and the host school and sixth-seeded College of the Ozarks (20-9) on Friday, March 10 at 8:30 pm (ET).