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RANGERS QUALIFY FOR NAIA NATIONAL TOURNAMENTKANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Northwestern men’s basketball team has qualified for the 2008-09 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship played March 18-24 in Kansas City, Mo. The Rangers received an at large bid to join the field of 32 teams at the 72nd Annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, which will be held at Municipal Auditorium.


The Rangers join four other teams from the Sooner Athletic Conference, including: No. 1 Rogers State, No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 22 Oklahoma Christian and the University of Science and Arts.


The official tournament bracket will be released on Thursday, March 12 by 12 p.m. (CST).


The Championship is a single-elimination tournament featuring 18 automatic qualifiers from 11 Division I affiliated conferences, Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.), 1 host berth, and 13 at-large berths, which are determined using the final regular-season rating released today (March 11).


There are 17 teams who did not qualify for last year’s event led by Rogers State (Okla.) University. The Hillcats out of the Sooner Athletic Conference are 30-1 overall and have been ranked No. 1 in the last seven polls. The event has a host as the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) serves that function. Three teams have qualified from the HAAC: Central Methodist (Mo.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and William Jewell (Mo.). The HAAC was a member of NAIA Division II before this season.


Of the 32 teams, Georgetown (Ky.) is making the most appearances with its 28th and holds the most all-time wins in the Championship with 49 victories. Oklahoma Baptist is making its 21st event and is 48-19 all-time. Defending national champion Oklahoma City did not make this year’s qualifiers.


The first 30 games of the Championships will be video-streamed live on the Internet, while the National Championship Game on March 24 at 8:50 p.m. CST will air live nationwide on CBS College Sports Television with Jason Knapp calling the action and Sean Farnham providing color analysis.

For more information on the Championships, click here.

For complete conference tournament breakdown, click here.