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College of Idaho hosts opening round of the NAIA National Championship

Posted at 12:20 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 14:28:54-05

CALDWELL, Idaho — The College of Idaho earned a No. 3 seed in the NAIA National Tournament after winning the Cascade Conference for the fourth time in five years.

The NAIA moved to a new format giving schools a chance to host the opening two rounds and the College of Idaho gets to do that for the first time during this historic weekend.

On Friday night at 7 p.m., the Yotes hosts Vanguard out of California, before that game Southern Tennessee will play Ottawa out of Arizona, the winners of both games will meet on Saturday for a chance to advance to the sweet sixteen.

"We just want to play already we are getting really anxious to get on the floor," said senior guard Ivory Miles-Williams from Lapwai, Idaho. "I feel like it is awesome we led the NAIA in attendance this year."

Playing at home will certainly be an advantage for this young squad that went 29-4 on the season, Colby Blaine has coached at the College of Idaho for eight years and has been at the helm for the last four.

"This team might have the best chemistry I’ve ever been around they have fallen in love with doing things the right way," said Blaine. "To be doing it for the College of Idaho with nine Idaho guys on our roster it is pretty special to be playing in front of the community and the state."

The festivities start at 5 p.m. on Friday in true College of Idaho fashion with a tailgate party to get fans fired up, but fans have already responded by selling out reserve seating for the game against Vanguard.

"That was a big goal this year if we host this thing we will have a huge advantage," said Miles-Williams. "That is not saying anything against the teams that are here we got to work for it they are just as hungry as we are and we have a huge target on our back."

The College of Idaho has played Vanguard three times in California in the last eight years but this marks the first time Vanguard has come to Caldwell.