The Central Christian College men’s basketball team is returning to Winona Lake, Indiana this week to take part in the 2018 NCCAA National Tournament, hosted by Grace College.
The Tigers are making their second ever appearance in the championships, their first coming back in 2016. The tournament field was announced on Saturday, and features the Tigers as an at-large team and the 4th seed. The Central Region will be well represented in Winona Lake. All four teams that took part in the Regional Tournament that Central Christian hosted last week, made it into the 8 team field.
Southwestern Christian University is the #1 seed, Mid America Christian is seeded 3rd, Central is 4th, and College of the Ozarks, the Central Region Tournament Champion is sitting in the 7th spot. Seedings for the National Championships are determined by the regular season power rankings. The top 4 teams, (Emmanuel College is the #2 seed) are either NCAA DII, or NAIA DI teams.
The Tigers will open the tournament at 8:15 pm on Wednesday against the 5th seeded Warner University Royals. Warner is an NAIA DII team from Florida. They play in the Sun Coast Conference and finished the regular season at 19-12 overall land 10-8 in their conference. They lost in the first round of their conference tournament to Southeastern University, taking them out of contention for a bid to the NAIA DII tournament. In the NCCAA South Regional Tournament, they defeated Carver College in the semi-finals and then were upended by Emmanuel College in the finals 107-94. Like the Tigers, they were added to the national tournament field as an at-large selection.
A couple of interesting things about the NCCAA National Tournament. All 16 teams (men and women) will participate in a CSP (Christian Service Project) in the Winona Lake area on Tuesday, before play begins on Wednesday. The projects vary, but the last time the Tigers went to the tournament, they were involved in a project at one of the local elementary schools. Another interesting fact about the tournament, is the format. Most postseason tournaments are a 1 and done format, but because the NCCAA tournament only has 8 teams, they play all of the places out, giving the Tigers a total of 3 guaranteed games in the tournament.