Noontime Hoops Notebook: Welcome To The Sweet 16!
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
Welcome back, NCAA Division III basketball – we missed you!
Well, we missed the tournament action, to be exact, but the good news is the postseason resumes this evening with a few New England teams still in contention for a national championship.
Here are some thoughts (and predictions) for this weekend, which should once again produce some exciting outcomes.
The winner of this weekend’s third round and quarterfinals will advance to next weekend’s semifinal and championship weekend.
Most Compelling Third Round Matchup
- Amherst College vs. Nichols College (MBB): The winner of this particular matchup should be able to get past Swarthmore or Randolph Macon in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Nichols is extremely deep and seems eager to keep on dancing, especially after coach Scott Faucher‘s dance moves were shared on social media. Amherst posses some unique challenges for these Bison, but in the end, I am expecting Nichols to pull out the win and secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
- Bowdoin College vs. SUNY New Paltz (WBB): The Polar Bears are hands down one of the best teams in D3 basketball. They proved it last weekend by rallying to defeat Smith College in its second round contest to secure a date with the Hawks. Taylor Choate was a big reason the Polar Bears were able to beat the Pioneers last weekend – she finished the game with 38 points – so expect Bowdoin to rely on her in this one, along with Samantha Roy, Abby Kelly, and Hannah Graham.
Teams to Watch This Weekend
- Hamilton College (MBB): The Continentals scored two interesting wins last weekend, including an 11-point victory over Moravian. I think the Blue and White could be the darkhorse in their four-team pod, especially if they can beat Christopher Newport, which hasn’t lost since January 26th when they fell to York (Pa.). Kena Gilmour, Peter Hoffmann, and Tim Doyle must produce double-digits against both Christopher Newport and the winner of Whitman-Williams.
- Tufts University (WBB): I was courtside for both games last weekend, including an exciting victory over Haverford University, which secured the Jumbos a spot in this weekend’s third round. Tufts seemed vulnerable from the get-go, struggling to contain the Fords’ offensive screens, but the Powder Blue and White’s free throw shooting down the stretch was a big reason why they scored a 52-46 win. Tufts hasn’t played well in Medford this season but seems to be a much different team on the road. Look for the Jumbos to provide challenges to Messiah, and possibly the winner of Scranton-Christopher Newport. Tufts will need a big effort this evening Jac Knapp, along with Erica DeCandido.
- Nichols will top Amherst in its third-round game before outlasting Swarthmore-Randolph-Macon to secure the program’s first-ever bid to the national semifinals.
- Hamilton will find a way past Moravian, but will most likely fall to Whitman, which I believe will beat Williams.
- Tufts will beat Messiah in its third-round contest, but I am unsure if they will be able to top the winner of Scranton-Christopher Newport to secure a spot in the semifinals.
- Bowdoin deserves to be in the semifinals, but they do have a big challenge standing in their way with the Hawks of SUNY New Paltz. The winner of this game will represent its third round/quarterfinal pod in the semifinals.
- St. Thomas (Minn.) is one of the best teams in D3. They will find a way to beat the two-time defending champion Mammoths in its third round game en route to a semifinal final appearance.
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