NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Thursday, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the field for its National Championship tournament which included the fourth-seeded Loyola women’s team and third-seeded men’s team.
Loyola’s University Sports Complex will also play host to the first and second rounds of both men’s and women’s tournaments which begins Tuesday, March 7, and runs through the following day.
Joining the Wolf Pack at “The Den” in Uptown New Orleans are No. 5-seed Cumberlands (Ky.), No. 12-seed Midway (Ky.) and No. 13-seed John Brown (Ark.) in the women’s bracket and No. 6-seed Tougaloo (Miss.), No. 11-seed Texas A&M-Texarkana and No. 14-seed SAGU (Texas) on the men’s side.
The ninth-ranked women (27-2) came up one win short in their quest for a third straight Southern States Athletic Conference title.
“I think they are ready to go,” said Kennedy, whose women team is a perfect 12-0 at home this season. “They have something to prove. It was difficult. They didn’t want it to end there.”
On the flip side, the 19th-ranked men’s team captured its second straight league championship en route to what they hope will be back-to-back national NAIA titles.
The Wolf Pack men (24-6) won the NAIA national championship last year under then-head coach Stacy Hollowell, who joined the Ole Miss men’s basketball staff shortly after the season.
Donald Reyes inherited a Loyola men’s team that lost the likes of Zach Wrightsil and Myles Burns to the transfer portal.
The opportunity to host the tournament in “The Den” where the men have only lost three games in three years is something the Wolf Pack is excited about.
“I get goosebumps when I think about hosting,” admitted Coach Reyes. “Our first against Clinton college, in those first two weeks, the Den was rocking. It was unbelievable and those were regular games. I really can’t explain what the Den will be like on Tuesday and Tuesday evening.”
SSAC Tournament MVP Jalen Galloway also spoke with media following the selection announcement. Galloway averaged 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in the three games played during the tournament. He scored 19 points and totaled 11 boards in the title game.
Tuesday, March 7
Game 1 (Men) | 1 p.m. | No.6 Tougaloo (Miss.) vs. No.11 Texas A&M-Texarkana
Game 2 (Women) | 3 p.m. | No.5 Cumberlands vs. No.12 Midway
Game 3 (Men) | 5:30 p.m. | No.3 Loyola vs. No.14 SAGU (Texas)
Game 4 (Women) | 7:30 p.m. | No.4 Loyola vs. No.13 John Brown (Ark.)
Wednesday, March 8
Game 5: Second Round (Men) | 5:30 p.m. | Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 6: Second Round (Women) | 7:30 p.m. | Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
All times local (CST)