Butler men to play Ga. Highlands on Tuesday in NJCAA Tourney

Butler men to play Ga. Highlands on Tuesday in NJCAA Tourney

For the sixth time in the program's history, the Butler men's basketball team is heading to the NJCAA National Tournament, which will be held March 16-21 at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kan.

Butler is currently 29-3 overall and finished with a program-best 14 conference wins while winning the Jayhawk West title. The Grizzlies, who received one of four at-large bids to the NJCAA National Tournament and is seeded No. 14, open tourney play on Tuesday at 10 a.m. against No. 19 Georgia Highlands (27-6), the District XIII and Region 17 Champion.

The Butler-Georgia Highlands winner will advance to face No. 3 College of Southern Idaho (31-2) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The 2015 NJCAA National Tournament bracket can be found here.

Ranked seventh in the NJCAA men's final regular-season poll, Butler had its second-best start and second-longest winning streak in school history, going 22-0 to open the 2014-15 season.

In the program's history, Butler has won one national championship, two runner-up finishes and a third-place finish at the Tournament. The Grizzlies, then known as El Dorado Junior College, won the 1953 National Championship by defeating Arkansas City (Kan.) 82-64 in the final.

Butler made its return to national prominence in the 1990s under Randy Smithson, finishing runner-up at the NJCAA Tournament in 1992 and 1993 and a third-place finish in 1996. In 2010 under current head coach Mike Bargen, the Grizzlies made its first Tournament appearance since 1996.

Bargen, 165-92 overall in his eighth season at Butler, recently was named the Jayhawk West Coach of the Year – his second time winning the award. The Grizzlies had four players – Kyle Steward, Chris Howell, Jacolby Harris and Lamar Wofford – named to the KJCCC All-Jayhawk West Conference team. Steward earned first-team honors, while Howell, Harris and Wofford earned honorable mention honors.