The Heart of America Tournament – Championship Preview
2021 Heart Tournament Bracket
S3 Baker @ N2 Mount Mercy
N4 Grandview @ S1 Benedictine
S4 MidAmerica Nazarene @ N1 William Penn
N3 Clarke @ S2 Park
N2 Mount Mercy @ S1 Benedictine
S2 Park @ N1 William Penn
The top seed: #2 William Penn
NAIA Locks: William Penn, Benedictine, Park
NAIA Bubble Teams:
Best chances to win this tournament: William Penn, Benedictine
Possible sleeper: Baker – eliminated
Kevion Blaylock – William Penn: 17.6ppg, 10.2rpg
Heart Player of the Year
– 15pts, 10rebs in opening round win over MidAmerica Nazarene.
– 7pts, 6rebs in Semifinal win over RV Park
Kamari Newman – William Penn: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg,
– 13pts, 3rebs in win over MidAmerica Nazarene.
– 35pts on 9-11 from 3 in the 2nd Half in Semifinal win over RV Park
Jaiden Bristol – Benedictine: 12.6ppg, 5.9rpg, 5.44apg, 1.5spg
– 10pts, 8rpg, 8apg in quarterfinal win over Grandview.
– 31pts on 15 of 16 from FT line in Semifinal win over Mount Mercy
Eric Krus – Benedictine: 14.6ppg, 5.0rpg
– 24pts, 7rebs in Quarterfinal win over Grandview
– 11pts, 6rebs in Semifinal win over Mount Mercy
N1 William Penn – Won 98-68 over MidAmerica Nazarene in the 1st round. The Statesmen had six guys in double-figures, with not one player over 15pts. In the Semifinals against Park, they found themselves down at half before Kamari Newman went off in the 2nd Half, going 9-11 from 3 and scoring 32 of his 35 points.
S1 Benedictine – Beat Grandview in the opening round. Eric Krus paced six Ravens in double-figures with 24pts. He added in 7 rebounds as well. Jaiden Bristol had 10pts, 8rebs, 8assts. He then went off for for 31pts in the semifinal win against Mount Mercy. Bristol is the heartbeat of this Raven team. One of the most underrated players in the country.
S3 Baker – Lost to Mount Mercy in Opening Round
Championship Game Notes:
S1 Benedictine @ N1 William Penn 7pm CT Watch Live
William Penn 1-0
William Penn has a scoring margin of 24.58 on the year, however, #24 Benedictine had the Statesmen beat earlier this season before missing FT’s down the stretch and allowing for Kevion Blaylock to take over the game late. Coach Moody at Benedictine really does a great job of getting his guys to play their best basketball of the season at the end of each season. The Ravens are doing that now and are very good defensively. If they can slow down the Statesmen tonight they have a chance. WPU has mostly rolled through the Heart of America this year. They are deep, talented, athletic, play really hard and while Blaylock and Newman are studs, you can’t just focus on stopping just those two. The team that controls the tempo tonight should win this game!
The Heart Championship Central Page
The Heart has (2) auto-bids plus the Host Site bid, getting 3 teams into the NAIA National Tournament. William Penn clinched the regular season title auto-bid. Benedictine will get the Tournament auto-bid if WPU or them win the Heart tourney. Host site bid is TBD.
Our Pick To Win It: William Penn University – We have seen some upsets already around the country, but this William Penn team is deep, talented, shares the basketball and is better defensively then people may think. Plus they are at home where only one team has gotten within 20pts of them this season.