(FLORENCE) -- Fresh off an NCAA South Region Championship, the UNA Lions returned home to a huge welcome at Flowers Hall on Wednesday afternoon as the team prepares for a trip to Springfield, Massachusetts in the quest of the Division II basketball title.
The Lions' task is to beat the undefeated Bentley Falcons (33-0), a school with a rich basketball tradition (116-16 over the last four seasons) making their 2nd straight trip to the Elite Eight. The Falcons this year broke the school record for wins in a season and the New England record for the longest winning streak in men's basketball history.
UNA (27-8) won the school's 8th NCAA regional title Tuesday night with a 97-75 win over Benedict in the South Region final in Lakeland, Florida. They will face Bentley next Wednesday night at 7:30 pm.
In other quarterfinal games, Augusta (25-6) faces Central Oklahoma (28-5), Alaska- Anchorage (28-5) takes on California, Pa. (28-5), and Grand Valley State (36-0) faces Winona State (35-1).
It will be UNA's fifth trip to Springfield. The Lions have a 4-4 record there, including winning the 1990-91 National Championship. UNA also won a title in 1978-79.
UNA is 30-10 all-time in the Division II tournament and is one of just six schools in Division II history to have won more than one basketball national championship.
UNA enters the Elite Eight with five players who averaged double-figures this season, led by Casey Holt with 17.9 ppg. Behind him, there is Quinn Beckwith (16.2), Thomas Fraise (15.1), Kenny Johnson (13.7), and Isaac Gay (10.6).
Bentley also has five players who have averaged double-figures in scoring. Their stingy defense has allowed just 61.2 points per game this season.
The winner of this game will meet the winner of the Winona State-Grand Valley State game on Thursday, March 27 at 7:30.