And then there were 8….Crazy how fast the season goes, but here we are! Just eight team remain. Mostly teams you expected to be here, with a few surprises mixed in, but that is why you play the games and that is also what makes these games so much fun to watch! For me, I am excited for all four games. I know that people may look at the 14 next to Central Baptist name and the 15 next to Evangel’s name and think that Grace and Freed should roll, and hey they might, but I know one thing is for certain, you can throw those numbers out the window at this point. Both Evangel and CBC play hard and play with some swag. They aren’t going to back down or play afraid in these games today! The BEST part about it all, is that you can now watch ALL the games FREE (here)! **Also, I will be joining the NAIA feed to talk NAIA basketball today, so of course you wont want to miss that either!

Game 1: Freed-Hardeman vs Central Baptist

  • Two teams that get after it on the defensive end.
  • CBC is the smaller, scrappier team while FHU is the bigger more physical team.
  • CBC will have the best player on the floor in DeShawn Corprew. It will be interesting to see how Freed chooses to defend him, I imagine with Hunter Scurlock, but they can throw a lot of different bodies at him in order to try to make him uncomfortable.
  • For CBC, Freed is a tough scout. Quan Lax is their biggest offensive threat, but this is a balanced team that can score from a lot of different positions. They also come in waves as two of their top three scorers on the year come off the bench.
  • Expect bodies to be flying all around the court in this one. Both of these teams play HARD and defend at a high level. This game, most likely, comes down to who can find some rhythm from 3 and who can make FT’s. Everything at the rim is going to by physical!

Game 2: Grace vs Evangel

  • Two veteran teams who can hurt you in a variety of different ways.
  • Evangel is a tradition rich program and Josh Pritchett is going to leave Evangel with his name all over the record books. He is a stud! However, what Sophomore, Garrett Davault, has done in this tournament has been nothing less than spectacular!
  • For Grace, they are DEEP, talented and skilled! Elijah Malone is the favorite to win NPOY. Cade and Jakob Gibbs can score in a lot of different ways and Cade will most likely draw Pritchett to start. Even behind those three, Ian Scott, Brycen Graber, Jake Wadding and company are all guys who step up in big moments!
  • Expect this game to be pretty physical. Especially if it’s called like a normal quarterfinal game. Evangel has a Top 5 win under their belt this season, so they aren’t going to back down. If they can keep shooting the ball well from deep, this game will come down to the final possessions!

Game 3: Langston vs Indiana Wesleyan

  • Maybe our favorite game of the day! Two teams who play contrasting styles, but both who are also just SUPER talented and well coached!
  • Langston, all season long, has been great defensively. IWU can really score it from multiple spots. Javan Buchanan and Griffin Kliewer pose problems for Langston with their size and skill sets. IWU also has the size inside with Nathan Childress and Caedmon Bontrager to keep that Langston defense honest.
  • Langston though counters with a lot of talent of their own. It starts with their big three; Anthony Roy, Cortez Mosley and Toru Dean. Toru is the stick that stirs the drink for the Lions. He is their heartbeat and motor. Roy is a NPOY candidate and can fill it up in a hurry. Mosley is a high motor, skilled player who does it all on both ends of the floor. IWU will have to find ways to stop them to win.
  • The winner of this game is going to be the team who can control the pace of the game. If IWU can push the tempo and get out in transition and force Langston to play faster, they have the advantage. If Langston, can force the pace to be slowed down and can get their defense set in the half court, they have the advantage!

Game 4: College of Idaho vs Morningside

  • Two teams who are really similar on the offensive end, but completely different on the defensive end! Both teams come into this Quarterfinal matchup as two of the best shooting teams in the NAIA!
  • For College of Idaho, they are no stranger to the big moments. The Coyotes are a well oiled machine, who can really shoot it from deep. Samaje Morgan was the Cascade Conference POY and he is the engine to that team, but as we saw in the Round of 16 game last night, Drew Wyman is still a bucket and Tyler Robinett, Jake O’Neil and the rest of the Yotes all take their turns scoring the rock. They are a smart basketball team, who understand how to get shots off. They are also so tough on the offensive glass!
  • Morningside is built very similar. They can hurt you both on the outside and inside. Joey Skoff and Ely Doble are the top two scorers left in the tourney. Ely went off for 29pts last night and will need another big outing tonight as well! However, the Mustangs also really shoot the ball well AND will need to continue that tonight as the Yotes play a suffocating zone defense that frustrates opponents.
  • Madonna was successful last night when they were able to get the ball to the middle of the zone and then attack. That is normally how you beat most zones anyway, but with the Yotes defense, you have to also be tough when attacking. They don’t give up many easy buckets and challenge everything. If they can guard the 3pt line tonight and limit Doble and Skoff they will be in a great position to win this one!
  • For Morningside, it’s all about stopping the Yotes in transition and keeping them off the offensive glass! College of Idaho is so great at creating extra possessions. If the Mustangs continue to be one of the best 3pt shooting teams and can get Ely going again, they will give themselves a shot to win!

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