KANSAS CITY, Mo. – [Opening Round Schedule | Bracket Reveal] The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 48-team field and pairings for the 2021 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Opening Rounds, presented by Ballogy.
The inaugural opening round events take place March 12-13 at eight (8) sites throughout the nation. Each of these locations feature two (2), three-team brackets, totaling 16 (two at each of the eight sites).
The winners of each of these brackets advance to the 2021 NAIA National Championship Final Site in Kansas City, Mo., at the 83rd annual NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship, March 18-23. For more information on the national championship, click here.
The field consists of 36 automatic qualifiers and one host berth – given to conference regular season champions, regular season runners-up, tournament champions, tournament runners-up, or a team selected by the conference in absence of a tournament, depending on the league. The number of participating teams in each league determines the number of automatic bids in each conference. Leagues that started with 10 or more schools receive two automatic berths, while conferences with less than 10 institutions receive one. If a conference started with 15 or more schools, they receive three automatic berths.
This year, due to COVID, each conference was allowed a drop of up to three schools from where they started in order to keep their original auto berth total. Any conference that started with one auto berth was guaranteed to keep it.
At-large teams were determined by the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Selection Committee (NSC). The NSC consists of one representative from each geographic area and six at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.
For more information on NAIA Men’s Basketball, click here.