Baker, one of the original eight teams that participated in the very fist NAIA National Tournament in 1937 will be joined by Our Lady of the Lake for their first-ever national tournament appearance. Legendary Baker coach Emil S. Liston and legendary University of Kansas coach Dr. James Naismith were among the original founders of the inaugural tournament in 1937.
“I’m really happy for our guys and we’re looking to have a strong crowd of Baker alums in the KC area out there supporting us,” said Baker head coach Brett Ballard. “I think our guys understand how big of an opportunity they have in front of them. They (OLLU) play an up tempo style and we’re obviously going to need to figure out a way to slow them down. Our guys will be ready.” Listen to pregame audio here.
The Wildcats are coming off a runner-up finish in the 2012 Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament championship, while the Saints are coming off a loss to LSU Shreveport in the Red River Athletic Conference tournament championship game.
OLLU enters play ranked No. 1 in seven team categories. Most notably the Saints lead the nation with 100.2 points per game. Baker University enters play ranked No. 4 in field goal percent defense at 39 percent.
All five of OLLU’s starters currently average in double figures as Michael Brown leads the way with 16.5 points per game. Robert Martinez (14.2 ppg) and Ricardo Zanini (12.7 ppg) lead the team beyond the arc shooting 40 percent. Marco Cooper leads the Saints on the glass with 6.3 rebounds per game.
Juniors Ben Steinlage and Corey Anderson continue to pace the Baker offense as the only players averaging in double figures with 12.3 and 10.2 points per game respectively. Jordan Honore (9.1 ppg) leads the team beyond the arc at 41 percent. Steinlage and Jack Shortell will look to man the glass as they each average 6.1 and 5.8 respective rebounds per game.
Legendary Baker broadcaster Tom Hedrick will call the action beginning at 6 p.m., CST - Click here for the live audio feed.