By Mason Nesbitt, Sports Information Director
Wednesday wasn’t about if or where.
For The Master’s University men’s basketball team, it was all about the who and the when. And the Mustangs didn’t have to watch the NAIA’s bracket reveal show for long to learn they’d earned the Division 1 tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.
Master’s (29-2) will play No. 8-seed Peru State (Neb.) on March 14 at 6:15 p.m. PST in Kansas City, Missouri.
Top seed or not, TMU coach Kelvin Starr said the road promises to be difficult.
“At the end of the day for us, it’s never going to be easy to win a national title,” Starr said. “You’re going to have some round, somewhere where you’re playing elite teams.”
The Mustangs certainly have made a case for elite consideration. Master’s earned the nation’s top ranking in the final three polls of the season, winning the Golden State Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles along the way.
Monday’s 88-73 win over No. 14 Westmont College in Phoenix delivered TMU’s second straight conference tournament crown. The hope is it will deliver a firm dose of momentum as the Mustangs hurtle toward what could be five games in seven days.
It starts with a talented Peru State team, which went 21-13 this season, 12-7 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, good for third place in the north division behind No. 4 William Penn and No. 19 Graceland.
A win for Master’s would send the Mustangs into a second round game March 16 at 10:30 a.m. PST against the winner of LSU Alexandria (25-7) and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), which went 23-9 in the regular season.
“I think there’s a lot more parity in the country than there has been in the past few years,” Starr said. “The bottom teams in the tournament are still pretty good.”