BELTON- There was a sense of anticipation around the UMHB men’s basketball program on Monday morning.
The D-III NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed around 11:45 a.m. CT, but even before that point, the Crusaders knew their trip to the national tournament was a lock, as they had claimed the ASC’s automatic bid in Saturday’s 99-82 victory over LeTourneau.
The question now became, when, not if, the Cru would begin its time in the postseason, the first trip for UMHB to the NCAA Tournament since a 2013 run that ended in the national title game.
Those questions were answered minutes into the bracket reveal. The Crusaders, ranked No. 7 in the nation in D3hoops.com, will host a four-team pod on the first weekend of the tournament, which begins Friday.
“You work hard all season, and play tough games, and go through the tournament we just went through,” UMHB head coach Clif Carroll said. “It’s nice to be rewarded.”
The Crusaders will battle Chapman in the first round on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT, a program that went 22-4 this season in the Southern Collegiate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). Chapman fell to Pomona-Pitzer 76-71 in the SCIAC Championship game on Sunday afternoon.
Having home-court advantage for the first weekend of the tournament will be key, UMHB guard Kyle Wright said, shortly after the selections were announced.
“Last weekend, [for the ASC Tournament], the gym was packed,” Wright said. “Our fans did a great job of bringing the noise, making it loud, making it hard for the opposing team. That’s what you need in games like this. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play again in front of our home crowd.”
Carroll added: “I’m excited for our fans. We had over 2,000 in there on Saturday and I expect to see similar numbers for the NCAA Tournament. This is the kind of team a community can really get behind.”
Also in the regional is Trinity (TX) and Whitworth, both teams that picked up votes in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 poll. Trinity (TX), out of San Antonio, Texas, earned the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship automatic bid, posting a 22-5 record. Whitworth, the Northwest Conference champion, enters the postseason with a 22-4 record, having won its last five games. That matchup is set for Friday at 3 p.m. CT in Belton.
The winners of those two contests will meet on Saturday. Tip-off time is 5:30 p.m. CT.
UMHB has won 13 straight contests entering the tournament, and the Cru finished the ASC Tournament with a 25-2 record overall under second-year head coach Clif Carroll.
“This is what you dream of,” Wright said. “I love situations like this. The thing about college is, it’s not like the NBA, where you have seven-game series, or three-game series. If you lose you’re done. So having to put it all on the line, and trust your teammates, makes this a beautiful thing about college tournaments. It’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.”
Per the UMHB Athletics Department “UMHB will follow the NCAA minimums for tickets: $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and children (two and under free.)”
This article will be updated as more information comes available.
2 Replies to “UMHB men’s basketball will host NCAA Tournament first round matchup after winning ASC title”
Way to got Crusaders. I played Basketball for the women when I was a student there. I am behind you ALL THE WAY
GOOD LUCK ON FRIDAY. I KNOW YOU WILL WIN GO CRU