Division III Teams Punch Tickets to NCAA Tournament


March 2, 2010

Now I know most people invested their sports-watching time Sunday on a certain hockey game up in Vancouver, so allow me to share what was missed in local college basketball.

This past week was championship week, when conference tournaments are held, and as they say, tickets are punched to the Big Dance or, for some others, to the ECAC tournament. Some favorites prevailed (Amherst women, Williams men, Albertus Magnus men, Babson ladies) while others came up short (MIT men, Bridgewater St. women).

Here is a sample of some of the upsets across New England you may have missed:

GNAC men quarterfinals: No. 6 Lasell 85, No. 3 St. Joseph?s 78
NECC women semifinals: No. 4 Elms 56, No. 1 Daniel Webster  52 (Daniel Webster had only one conference loss prior to the upset)
NESCAC women quarterfinals: No. 6 Bates 70, No. 3 Williams 63

NEWMAC men?s semifinals: No. 5 Clark 71, No. 1  MIT 59

NEWMAC women quarterfinals: No. 6 Wellesley 58, No. 3 Springfield 57

MASCAC women semifinals: No. 4 MCLA 61,  No. 1 Bridgewater St.  53

What does this mean? Pretty much the same thing when the Division I brackets come out. The amount of upsets causes teams to sit and wait to see if they will be competing. The brackets were released Monday morning sans Billy Packer complaining, and here is where the New England schools will play beginning March 4:

Men?s Division III
Williams earned a bye into the second round on the strength of their 26-1 record and No. 2 national ranking.

Maine Farmington (14-11) at Bridgewater St. (19-7)

Gordon (24-4) at Middlebury (24-3)

Rhode Island College (20-7) vs. Rutgers-Newark (20-7) at Middlebury

Brandeis (19-6) vs St. Lawrence (16-11) at St. John?s Fisher, Rochester, N.Y.

Clark (16-12) at Albright (21-5) Reading, Pa.

Albertus Magnus (22-6) at William Patterson (25-2)

MIT (22-4) vs DeSales (Pa.) (22-5) at William Patterson, Wayne, N.J.

Women?s Division III
The women?s field is a full 64-team tournament, so Amherst, as the No. 1 overall seed, still will play an opening-round game. The women?s tournament begins on March 5:

MCLA (18-9) at Amherst (27-0)

RPI (17-10) vs. Southern Maine (20-8) at Amherst

Mount St. Mary?s (22-5) vs. Williams (18-7) at Ithaca

Husson (19-8) at Colby (23-4)

Emmanuel (22-5) vs Babson (25-3) at Colby

Tufts (20-5) vs Muhlenberg (21-5) at Kean, N.J.

Baruch (NY) (23-5) @ Bowdoin (20-6)

University of New England (23-5) vs. Western Connecticut (22-5) at Bowdoin

For those who can?t travel all around and make it to these games, the ECAC tournament may be an option.  The ECAC is a bit like the NIT. It gives eight teams a chance at postseason play. Here is the lineup of games, which begin Wednesday and end this coming weekend:

ECAC Men?s
Wentworth at Eastern Connecticut
Framingham St. at Becker
Husson at Plymouth St.
Curry at Elms

ECAC Women?s
Suffolk at Keene St.
Norwich at WPI
Endicott at Plymouth St.
Worcester St. at Regis

So do yourself a favor and go out to support these athletes as they conclude exciting seasons. Who knows? You may run into another Clark or MCLA and watch as they make a run deep into the tournament.

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