George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
What many experts thought might be the case became offi- cial on Sunday morning. The Montana State University- Northern Lights were left out of the 2008 NAIA playoffs despite being ranked No. 24 in the final regular season poll, beating their last two opponents by a considerable margin and finishing second in the always-tough and highly-regarded Frontier Conference. Northern finished 7-3 in conference play, the only Frontier team besides nine-time league champion Carroll College to have a winning record this season. The Lights were 7-3 overall as well. In its last two games of the season, MSU-N beat UMWestern 38-28 and Montana Tech 35-3. The playoff brackets were released Sunday morning by the NAIA, and the Saints (11-0), the defending NAIA champions, are seeking their sixth title in seven years. Carroll is the top overall seed and will play DAC champion Dickinson State University (7-3) Saturday at noon in Helena. Interestingly, the Blue Hawks aren't the only threeloss team in the field. Mid-State Midwest champion Saint Ambrose of Iowa is also in the field as is Baker College of Kansas and Lambuth University, both of which got at-large bids to the tourney with three losses. In other first round games, Sioux Falls (10-0), the 2006 NAIA champion will host St. Ambrose (8-3), undefeated St. Francis (10-0) of Indiana hosts Union College of Kentucky (9-2), MidAmerica Nazarene of Kansas (10-0) will host Langston University of Oklahoma (9-2), Friends University of Kansas (10-0) plays host to Northwestern Oklahoma University (8-2), Morningside College of Iowa (9-1) hosts Baker, Lindenwood University of Missouri (9-1) hosts Lambuth of Tennessee (8-3) and University of Cumberlands of Kentucky (9-1) plays host to Shorter College of Georgia (9-2). Both Shorter and Union are making their first-ever playoff appearances. The NAIA playoffs will feature quarterfinal games on Nov. 29 and the semifinals on Dec. 6. The 53rd NAIA national championship will be held on Dec. 20 in Rome, Ga.