EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Only No. 20 Central Missouri (29-5) stands between No. 7 West Liberty University (31-3) and the NCAA Division II Championship.
The Hilltoppers will take on the Mules at 3 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.
Saturday’s game will be West Liberty’s first championship game appearance. “There’s more at stake,” said Jim Crutchfield, West Liberty’s coach. “This is the kind of game, if you win, it kind of carries with you for the rest of your life.”
With this week’s games, the Hilltoppers have now made four straight Elite Eight appearances and have advanced to the Final Four in three of the last four seasons.
West Liberty beat South Carolina-Aiken 86-83 on Thursday night at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. to advance to the title game, while Central Missouri upset No. 1-ranked Metro State 71-69.
“They’ve got good players. They’ve got great talent across the board,” said Crutchfield of Central Missouri on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “They’re very, very talented offensively. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t.”
Heading into Saturday, Crutchfield (272-48, .850) has the highest winning percentage in college basketball history for any coach with 10 or more seasons at any NCAA school.