Catching up on some of the local Massachusetts Division III hoops squads.
* Browsing the NEWMAC website, I noticed that the MIT Engineers men’s basketball team is currently undefeated. Larry Anderson must be doing something right, especially since his team has figured out various ways to defeat quality opponents like Tufts University, Salem State, and Springfield College this year. This weekend, (Saturday, Jan. 21), they’ll host Worcester Polytechnic Institute, (WPI for short), which could decide an eventual conference winner.
* Besides MIT and WPI, Springfield, Wheaton College, Babson College, Clark University and the U.S. Coast Guard all remain in contention to earn the third, fourth, fifth and sixth seeds for the February tournament.
* As for the women’s squads in the NEWMAC – they’re all looking up to Judy Blinstrub’s Babson College Beavers, who’re a perfect 8-0 in conference play, and 12-2 overall. The Beavers struggled earlier this season, especially against Tufts and Williams College, but have seemed to recover quite well over the past few weeks.
*The Beavers will face the Cougars of Clark on Wednesday, which could determine the eventual conference winner, yet let’s not count out those Smith College Pioneers, who according to one source, “knows how to pick your pocket” on defense.
* In the NESCAC – Middlebury continues to be the dominant force, as they’re currently ranked the top team in the men’s conference. They’re 4-0 in conference play, as well as 14-0 overall, and yes, I know they’re not a Massachusetts school, but they’re currently the top team in the country, so show some respect to our neighbors up in Vermont.
* Amherst College’s men’s basketball team has only lost once this season, which was against the Brandeis University Judges, but since then, they’ve earned five significant wins against Wesleyan University, Connecticuit College, and Hamilton College. The Lord Jeffs begin a five-game road trip on Friday when they travel to Wesleyan College.
* Tufts University’s men’s and women’s teams have been fun to watch this season, too. Yes, they’re young, but also very talented. The Jumbos men’s team finally earned their first home victory last weekend against Bowdoin College, while the women’s squad picked up two important wins recently against Wheaton and Colby College.
* The Williams College men’s basketball team has been hot and cold as of recently, as well as won three of their last five contests. Junior James Klemm led the Ephs with 19 points, while sophomore Michael Mayer scored 14 against Connecticuit College.
* Similar to the men’s team, the Williams women’s basketball team recently picked up their second conference loss of the season, despite tallying 72 points against Connecticuit College. The Ephs will look to close out their three-game road swing on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Easter Connecticuit with a win before returning home to face Hamilton and Amherst.
* Speaking of the women’s basketball team at Amherst, they still remain d3hoops.com’s number one team in the nation. The Lord Jeffs haven’t lost a game all season, and are certainly a lock to win the NESCAC. Seniors Lem Atanga McCormick and Caroline Stedman have combined for 336 points in 14 games, while freshman Megan Robertson leads the team with 100 rebounds, (51 offense, 49 defense).
* The Fitchburg State women’s basketball team ended their 11-game winning streak on Jan. 7, when Bridgewater State defeated the Falcons, 78-59. The Green and Yellow have bounced back, and will look to earn their second conference win on Tuesday, Jan. 17, when they host Worcester State.
* Finally, the Westfield State Owls remain the top squad in the MASCAC. The Owls have won 10 games this season, and one of the biggest came on Saturday, Jan. 7, when they defeated Salem State, 85-54.