By Matt Noonan
The Division III college basketball season in Massachusetts is slowly winding down, which means tournament basketball is right around the corner. And while we’re still a few weeks away from “selection Monday,” I thought that I’d make a few predictions on who’ll win the various men’s conference tournaments.
NEWMAC – As of now, MIT is my pick to win the conference, as well as the tournament, but I’m not counting out WPI or Springfield College. Both Engineers squads will face-off against one another in Worcester next week with a chance to determine the overall winner. A win by WPI could shake things up in the standings, and make things interesting, but if MIT can pull out a victory, then they’ll be a lock to win the conference, as well as the tournament. Prediction – MIT
NESCAC – Middlebury has been the main focus this season in this particular conference, especially since they’re currently sitting in first place. Although, I certainly believe that Amherst College is playing the best fundamental basketball among all the teams in the NESCAC. They earned a quarterfinal home match last week when they defeated Tufts, which could certainly catapult them in the right direction for the NCAA tournament. However, Willams College proved that Amherst is beatable, especially if you limit their offensive rebounds. Prediction – Amherst College
CCC – This particular conference features a seven-horse race. However, I’m thinking Salve Regina might be the best team, especially since they’ve tallied 12 wins against CCC squads. Wentworth Institute of Technology is a resilient bunch, and could certainly be the dark horse come tournament time. Also, Endicott College is another squad that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially since their defense has been a major boost for their offense this year. Overall, this particular tournament should feature some exciting moments, as well as a few fireworks. Prediction – Endicott College
MASCAC – This particular conference has featured numerous first place squads over the past few weeks and months. Westfield State was on a hot streak in January, but then experienced a few tough losses. Bridgewater State resurfaced over the past few weeks, and so did Salem State, too. Also, let’s not count out Worcester State or Framingham State, who could spice things up over the next week. All in all, this is one of those conferences that is clearly up for grabs. Prediction – Salem State
NECC – The second-half comeback by Wheelock College has been really admirable, but a recent loss to Becker College could derail the veteran Wildcats for the remainder of the season. However, I’m expecting the Wildcats to give the Hawks a run for their money in the tournament. Prediction – Becker College