All-Iowa First-Round Game for William Penn

William Penn Men's Basketball Head Coach John Henry during last year's tournament appearance.

William Penn Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Henry during last year’s tournament appearance.

Oskaloosa–Back to The Dance for the third-consecutive year, the Statesmen men’s basketball team will have a tough opening-round test as it faces inter-state power Dordt at the 23rd Annual NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championships next Thursday.

#27 seed William Penn (22-9) will take on the #6-seeded Defenders (28-5) at 9:15 p.m. The full bracket can be found at

http://www.naia.org/fls/27900/1NAIA/SportsInfo/Championships/2014DIIMBB/2014DIIMBB_Bracket.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=27900

It appears the NAIA may have sought out an all-Iowa opening-round matchup as Dordt actually came in as the #7 team in the nation, but jumped #6 Saint Xavier (Ill.) when the seeds were handed out. Cincinnati Christian (Ohio), which only sported a 19-13 record and was ranked three rungs lower than the Statesmen (who are #30 in the final poll), will play the Cougars in the first round.

The WPU/DC winner will then face the winner of the #11 St. Thomas (Fla.)/#22 Union (Ky.) contest on Friday at 9:15 p.m.

The Championships are again held in Point Lookout, Mo., in Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks, from March 12-18.

The Statesmen qualified as the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament champion, while Dordt earned its automatic spot as the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season winner. This will be the first meeting between the programs since November 10, 2012, a 106-81 Dordt victory in Oskaloosa.

All of William Penn’s games at the Championships will be broadcast on KBOE Radio and webstreamed on KBOE’s website at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/kboe.portal#

The first four rounds will also be available on MCG’s Local Access TV Channel 7. The finals are only available on ESPN3. A press release by MCG can be found at http://www.statesmenathletics.com/d/2013-14/MCG_MBB_Nationals.pdf

Fans can also pay to watch the games online at http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=205423235&KEY=&DB_OEM_ID=27900&DB_LANG=C&IN_SUBSCRIBER_CONTENT

The per-day option costs $9.95, while the entire tournament (through the semifinals) can be purchased for $29.95. Again, the championship game will only be televised on ESPN3.

Game tickets are available by calling 417-335-NAIA (6242).

#27 overall seed William Penn–John Henry in his 13th season, is leading the Statesmen to their fifth NAIA Nationals appearance and third in a row (4-4 all-time).

William Penn is led by Midwest Collegiate Conference Player of the Year Blake Walker (Jr., Rose Garden, Ga., Physical Education), who is averaging 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.4 assists. Kelly Madison (Jr., Des Moines, Iowa, Physical Education), with a team-best 16.7 points, and Alec Schwab (Jr., Peru, Ill., Business Management), with 16.1 points, were also first-team picks. Roberts Baltruns (So., Riga, Latvia, Business Management), who is shooting 43.1% from beyond the arc, and Erik McGee (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Elementary Education), who topped the league in rebounding (8.7 per game), were honorable mentions.

The nation’s best rebounding team and second-highest-scoring squad, William Penn has outscored opponents 91.1-80.5 and has outrebounded them 46.1-37.2. The Statesmen are shooting 44.4% overall, including a 34.7% clip from beyond the arc. They are also the best in NAIA Division II in three-pointers made (361). William Penn is 65.6% from the line.

The Statesmen have won eight games in a row.

#6 overall seed Dordt–Ross Douma, in his fifth season, will be taking the Defenders back to nationals for the third year in a row. The last two teams reached the Elite Eight. Dordt, which is making its fourth trip to nationals, is 4-3 all-time.

The Defenders started the year 16-1, but most recently lost two of their last four, including an 87-85 loss to Morningside in the GPAC Tournament Finals. The squad is led by GPAC Player of the Year Kyle Lindbergh (17.1 points, 10.8 rebounds), while Austin Katje was also a first-team pick.

Dordt, the third-highest scoring team in NAIA Division II, is outscoring opponents 89-8.78-1 and is also much better on the boards (ninth nationally) with a 41.6-32.2 edge. The team is shooting 48.5% from the floor, including 37.4% from beyond the arc. The Defenders are also 72.6% at the line.

Additional Tournament Information

Comfort Inn has been selected as William Penn’s host hotel. The NAIA encourages fans to stay at their team’s host hotel.

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