SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Men’s Basketball team will begin the 2021-22 season with some degree of national respect. The Bulldogs picked up eight points in the NAIA Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll released on Wednesday (Oct. 27). That puts Concordia 16 spots out of the NAIA top 25 in the preseason. In the GPAC preseason poll announced last week, the Bulldogs landed at No. 3 behind Morningside and Jamestown.
Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad will have to earn its way into the top 25. Under Limback, Concordia finished both the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons as a team that received votes in the national poll. The program last cracked the top 25 in 2010-11 when it rose as high as No. 20. During the GPAC era (2000-present), the Bulldogs’ highest national ranking was No. 4 in 2004-05 when they advanced to the NAIA Division II national championship game.
Concordia hopes to return to the national tournament as it did in 2020 when it played the final NAIA Division II game ever (remainder of tournament was canceled due to COVID-19). In program history, the Bulldogs have made 10 national tournament appearances, including nine under former head coach Grant Schmidt. They last won a national tournament game in 2005.
Limback’s crew tied for third in the GPAC last season while equaling a program record for conference wins in a single season (14). The Bulldogs return all five starters (and their top seven scorers) from last season, including All-GPAC honorees in Carter Kent, Gage Smith and Justin Wiersema, in addition to super seniors in Ryan Holt and Sam Scarpelli. Wiersema rose to first team all-conference status while becoming one of the top backcourt players in the GPAC.
Based on the preseason poll, the Bulldogs will play five regular season games against top 25 opponents: No. 12 Morningside (twice), No. 18 Benedictine and No. 19 Jamestown (twice). Nonconference opponent Ottawa (Kan.) is receiving votes in the preseason.
Concordia will open the 2021-22 season this weekend at the Hastings Classic. The Bulldogs will take on Friends University (Kan.) at 3 p.m. CT on Friday before battling Presentation College (S.D.) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.