Men’s Basketball to play LSU-Shreveport in NAIA First Round next Friday

Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes will not have to go far for their first-round game in the NAIA Men’s National Basketball Championship. Across campus, down the street or perhaps as far as across town.


Awaiting them will be an opponent that is wholly unfamiliar and no slouch.

The Coyotes (23-7) are the fifth seed in the Duer Quadrant and play 12th-seeded Louisiana State-Shreveport in their first-round game Friday, March 15 inside Mabee Arena. Fourth-seeded and No. 20-ranked Concordia, Neb. (23-7) plays 13th-seeded Indiana-Northwest (21-10) in the other first-round game that day.

The winners will play at 6 p.m. Saturday for a trip to the Final Site on March 21-26 inside Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.

Wesleyan was chosen as a first-round host and the Coyotes will be the first Kansas Conference team to play on its home floor since the NAIA expanded the tournament field to 64 teams.

The homecourt advantage could be crucial against a tall and athletic LSU-S team that is 22-8 and was runner-up in the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament. The Pilot have three players who are 6-feet-8 or taller and their point guard, Melvion Flanagan, played in 21 games and started three for Wichita State last season.

“We have our work cut out for us but we’re also playing at home,” KWU coach Anthony Monson said following the unveiling of the tournament field by the NAIA on Monday night. “We’ve won a lot games in this gym, it’s fun to be able to have a national tournament at your home site. We’re the first KCAC team to get to play on our home floor and it’s pretty exciting.”

The Coyotes won their first-round games the previous two seasons before losing in the second round. Monson said this team wants to change that.

“Our goal for the year was to get to the Final Site and have a chance to play for a national title and nothing has changed since then. It’s still the same goal,” he said. “Now we know who we’re playing, we have an opponent, we’ve got a week to prepare and it’s a lot of fun.”

The thrill of qualifying for the national tournament never gets old, Monson said.

“I had a coach once tell me ‘don’t ever take winning for granted,'” he said. “You get to these moments and you really have to enjoy them regardless of the situation you’re in. There are 230-plus teams in the NAIA and only 64 get to play in this thing.

“To be able to do that for three years in a row – something that’s never been done here at the school – is pretty exciting for the school, for the program and for the city of Salina to get to host one of these.”

The Coyotes are eager to play again after the loss to OKWU.

“We need to get that taste out of our mouth for sure,” he said. “Give Oklahoma Wesleyan credit, they came out and did good job against us and we didn’t execute the way we’d like to.

“We’ll get our guys ready and prepped and hopefully have a great environment Friday night here and give it our best shot.”


Four teams will compete in the first round of the NAIA Women’s National Championship inside Mabee Arena on the same dates as the men.

KCAC regular season and postseason tournament champion Tabor is the 12th seed in the Duer Quadrant and plays fifth-seeded LSU-Shreveport on March 15. Fourth-seeded Mayville State (N.D.) and No. 13 Freed-Hardman (Tenn.) will play in the other first-round contest. The championship will be at 3 p.m. March 16 with a trip to the Final Site in Sioux City, Iowa at stake.