COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the first time in the 66-year history of NJCAA men’s basketball, its premier championship event will feature 24 teams in a fully seeded bracket.
In addition to 16 district champions, the 2013 NJCAA Division I Basketball Championship Tournament at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kan. will also feature four ‘zone’ qualifiers and four at-large teams for the first time in the event’s history. The at-large teams were named on Monday.
Vincennes (31-2), the Region 24 (District 16 for the national tourney) tournament champion, is seeded fifth. The Trailblazers will play on Tuesday, March 19 against the winner of a preliminary round game between Hagerstown, Md. (29-4) and Lee College of Texas (24-10).
Iowa Western (31-2) received the No. 1 seed, ahead of Spartanburg Methodist, S.C. (32-0) which held the top spot in the final poll of the year. Central Florida is seeded third and Hutchinson, which calls the Sports Arena floor home, is fourth.
The 2013 tournament marks the 65th consecutive year the event has been held in the city of Hutchinson. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the NJCAA.
• The women’s national tournament will be played concurrently in nearby Salina, Kan. Region 24’s two entries did not receive much support from the committee in charge of seeding the 24 teams. Southwestern Illinois (25-5) was seeded 23rd, with Kaskaskia (24-8), one of the at-large teams, seeded last.
Kaskaskia will open on Monday, March 18 at noon against Blinn College, Tex. (30-3), while Southwestern will face Chipola, Fla. (25-6) on Monday, March 18 at 8:30 p.m.
Trinity Valley, Tex. (32-1) was accorded the top seed, followed by Central Arizona (29-1), Hutchinson, Kan. (33-1), Gulf Coast, Fla. (27-4) and Shelton St., Ala. (32-0).
• In men’s Division II, Rend Lake (26-3) won the Region title and is one of 16 teams in the national tournament, opens on Tuesday, March 19 in Danville. The GRAC champion Warriors will be joined by Illinois schools South Suburban (30-3) and Moraine Valley (28-5).
Danville has hosted the D. II event since 1994.