BELTON The Mary Hardin-Baylor men's basketball team is making its fifth trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament in the last six years after the Cru earned an at-large bid despite Monday a semifinal loss in the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament on Saturday.
And for the third straight year, UMHB will be a host site for the tournament's opening round. Other teams in the four-team pod at UMHB's Mayborn Campus Center are ASC rival McMurry, Trinity and Whitworth (Wash.) College.
The Cru (25-2) will open the tournament with a 7:30 p.m. first-round game on Friday, following a 5:30 contest between McMurry and Whitworth. The winners will then meet at 7 p.m. on Saturday for the chance to advance to the Division III Sweet 16.
The Cru is 3-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 last season before falling to Augustana (Ill.) College 70-57.
This is the first time the Cru has played host to a four-team pod.
"It is a serious goal for us every year to get into the tournament," Cru head coach Ken DeWeese said. "We did not get the automatic bid, so we are delighted to get in to the tournament and we are absolutely thrilled to be hosting. Our mantra now is, 'It's time to go to work.'"
UMHB is the only at-large team in the Belton pod. Trinity (20-8) advanced as the champion of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. McMurry (20-8) won the ASC title and Whitworth went 24-3 on the year en route to the Northwest Conference Championship.
Tickets will be $6 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.