The Crusaders are seeded 9th on the tournament bracket and enter the tournament with a 25-6 record. Evangel earned an automatic bid to the national tournament after winning the Heart of America conference tournament. The Crusaders also won the league’s regular season going 15-3 in the league.
Montana-State Northern is unseeded but are ranked 24th nationally in NAIA-I. They are 23-9 on the season and received an at-large bid to the tournament.
The game will be the first meeting ever between the two schools.
The winner of the game will play the winner of #8 Pikeville (Ky.) vs. Louisiana State-Shreveport on Friday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m.
The complete NAIA-I national tournament bracket is available on the NAIA’s website: http://www.naia.org/fls/27900/
In other tournament notes, HAAC member MidAmerica Nazarene plays #7 California State-San Marcos on March 14 at 6:15 p.m. and Culver-Stockton meets #5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) on March 14 at 2:15 p.m. #1 ranked Columbia is 33-0 and will play Oklahoma City (17-10) at 7 p.m. next Wednesday. Philander Smith (Ark.), who lost to Missouri State earlier this year, plays #14 Montana Western next Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Each of Evangel’s games in the tournament will be broadcast live on ESPN 1400 in Springfield and on www.audiosportsonline.net on the internet.