Setting The Stage For The First Day of the NCAA D3 Men’s Basketball Tournament

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Jake Ross and the Springfield College men’s basketball team will open the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament at home against SUNY Canton. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

We’re just one day away from the start of the 2020 NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament, which means its time to highlight a few things you need to know about this year’s postseason while also sharing some predictions, too.

Which New England teams will be competing in this year’s NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament? 

  • This year, there are 13 teams from our region that will begin their respective quests to Atlanta, Georgia tomorrow, including two teams that will be host sites for both the first and second rounds.
  • The teams competing in this year’s tournament are the following: Babson College, Coast Guard Academy, Middlebury College, Westfield State, Tufts University, Western Connecticut, New England College, WPI, Springfield College, University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.), Nichols College, and Colby College.

What are the first-round matchups, times and locations? 

Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s (Friday, March 6th) first-round schedule:

  • WPI vs. Yeshiva University, 1 p.m. (at Johns Hopkins)
  • New England College vs. RPI, 3:30 p.m. (at Tufts University)
  • Colby College vs. Christopher Newport, 4 p.m. (at Stevens Inst. of Technology)
  • Middlebury College vs. Westfield State, 4 p.m. (at Brockport)
  • Babson College vs. Ithaca College, 5 p.m. (at Swarthmore College)
  • Univ. of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) vs. Hobart, 5 p.m. (at Springfield College)
  • Western Connecticut at Tufts University, 6 p.m.
  • Coast Guard Academy at Brockport, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nichols College at Stevens Inst. of Technology, 6:30 p.m.
  • SUNY Canton at Springfield College, 7:30 p.m.

Which teams could advance to Saturday’s (March 7th) second round? 

  • Colby College: The Mules face a real tough test tomorrow against a talented Christopher Newport squad. The Captains will certainly challenge Colby from the opening tip, but if the Mules play the way they did against Tufts, as well as against Amherst College and Bates College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament then I think they will be able to squeak out a first-round win.
  • Middlebury College: The Panthers haven’t played a game since late February, but this isn’t the first time they have had to wait to hear the committee announce their name on ‘Selection Monday.’ The Panthers should be able to beat Westfield State and then find a way to beat either Brockport or Coast Guard Academy in the second round.
  • Springfield College: The Pride of Springfield are equipped and ready to go on a very deep run this month. They should be able to top SUNY Canton on the opening day of the tournament. But can they turn around one day later and beat the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.), which is the favorite in their first-round matchup? I think they can.
  • Tufts University: The Jumbos enter the postseason riding some serious momentum, thanks to an exciting double-overtime win on Sunday in the NESCAC Championship. Their momentum will be tested immediately against a talented Western Connecticut squad, which enters the postseason on a seven-game winning streak. If they can beat the Colonials, they will most likely have to beat an RPI squad, which should beat New England College in their opening-round matchup.
  • University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.): Jim Calhoun and the Blue Jays could be a real tough out. They have not dropped a game since falling to Tufts last November and proved they are a resilient bunch, especially this past weekend against Albertus Magnus in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. The Blue Jays should be able to beat Hobart, but will certainly be tested against Springfield in the second round.

What first-round match-up will I be watching? 

  • WPI vs. Yeshiva. The Engineers face a real tough test in the opening round. And if they are able to beat the Maccabees, who have not dropped a game since falling to Occidental College last November, they will most likely face Johns Hopkins, which is the favorite in their opening round match-up.For WPI to be victorious tomorrow, they will need to play the way they did against Babson last Friday. They will also need big games from Garrett StephensonColin McNamara, and Kahleb Downing.

First-Round Predictions! 

  • Ithaca College over Babson College
  • Brockport over Coast Guard Academy
  • Middlebury College over Westfield State
  • Tufts University over Western Connecticut
  • RPI over New England College
  • Yeshiva University over WPI
  • Springfield College over SUNY Canton
  • St. Joseph (Conn.) over Hobart
  • Stevens Inst. of Technology over Nichols College
  • Colby College over Christopher Newport

Stefan Thompson is “looking forward” to coaching against Jim Calhoun

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Jim Calhoun will be making his first-ever NCAA D-III Tournament appearance on Friday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Univ. of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

In just two days, the Hobart men’s basketball team will tip-off against the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament. And the team’s head coach, Stefan Thompson, seems excited for his Statesmen to compete against Jim Calhoun‘s squad, which enters the national postseason riding an impressive 25-game winning streak. 

“As a coach, I am looking forward to it,” Thompson said, via Joe Sager of D3Hoops.com. “I know he is a competitor and that’s why he’s still in the industry and able to sustain such a great career.”

Calhoun has never coached in the D-III Tournament but has plenty of experience coaching in the postseason with both Northeastern University and the University of Connecticut. He won three national championships with the Huskies of UConn while guiding Northeastern to five March Madness appearances, including a pair of second-round contests in 1981 and 1982.

Last season, Calhoun and the Blue Jays came close to making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance but lost to Albertus Magnus in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament.

This season, the Blue Jays erased the memories of their 2019 conference tournament championship setback by beating the Falcons in the 2020 GNAC title game this past Sunday.

USJ, which is in its second season as a varsity program, only has one junior on its roster. A majority of the team is first-years and sophomores, who have turned the Blue and Gold into a team to watch over the past few weeks in both Connecticut and New England.

The winner of Friday’s match-up will advance to Saturday’s second-round against the winner of Springfield College and SUNY Canton.

Jim Calhoun Is Headed To The NCAA D-III Tournament This Weekend

By Matt Noonan

Jim Calhoun is headed to the NCAA D-III Tournament this weekend – well, Friday, March 6th, to be exact.

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Jim Calhoun is back in the NCAA Tournament with the University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) men’s basketball team. (PHOTO COURTESY: DAVE MARTIN/AP)

The legendary college basketball coach, who guided the University of Connecticut to three NCAA D-I Championships, just helped the University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) win its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) crown on Sunday while securing a spot in the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament.

USJ will face Hobart at Springfield College on Friday with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. The winner will face either Springfield or SUNY Canton in the second round on Saturday, March 7th.

Calhoun, who is in his second season with the Blue Jays, has led the Blue and Gold to 25 consecutive wins since falling to Tufts University last November. The loss to the Jumbos seems to be a distant memory for the Blue Jays, who posted a perfect mark in conference play this season while securing two wins over in-state rival Albertus Magnus.

Prior to their match-up against the Falcons yesterday, USJ provided Calhoun with his 900th win on the bench in January when the Blue Jays beat the Pratt Institute Cannoneers, 105-61.

Calhoun was named the program’s first coach prior to their initial season last school year. The Blue Jays concluded their inaugural season with a 16-12 overall record, as well as an appearance in the GNAC Championship.

D3 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Monday, March 2nd, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Tufts University returned to the top of our weekly poll, thanks to an exciting (and impressive) win yesterday over second-ranked Colby College in the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship.

With the win, the Jumbos claimed their first-ever league tournament crown and will be at home this weekend for a first-round NCAA D-III Tournament game against Western Connecticut, which is one of our six teams ‘on the rise.’

Colby is headed to the postseason as an at-large bid and so is Springfield College, which will host a pair of first-round games, along with a second-round contest, too. The Pride remains one of our top teams in the region despite falling to Coast Guard Academy last weekend in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinals.

WPI secured the fourth position after checking-in seventh one week ago while coach Jim Calhoun and the University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) remained in the fifth position for the second-straight week. The Blue Jays won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship against Albertus Magnus, which extended their current winning streak to 25 consecutive victories since late November.

Middlebury CollegeBabson College, and Amherst College secured the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions, respectively, while Nichols College joined the poll after winning three-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) tournament outings, including a come-from-behind quarterfinal matchup against Roger Williams.

Brandeis University secured the final position with a 17-8 overall record. They capped their 2019-20 regular season slate with 72-69 win over New York University.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week 14 Poll| Monday, March 2nd, 2020

1. Tufts University 21-6, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3
2. Colby College 24-3, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. Springfield College 22-4, 11-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 1
4. WPI 20-7, 10-3 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 7
5. St. Joseph’s (Conn.) 26-2, 11-0 GNAC Last Week: No. 5
6. Middlebury College 20-5, 6-4 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
7. Babson College 20-6, 10-4 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 4
8. Amherst College 18-8, 7-3 NESCAC Last Week: No. 8
9. Nichols College 20-8, 12-4 CCC Last Week: Not Ranked
10. Brandeis University 17-8, 9-5 UAA Last Week: No. 10

ON THE RISE: Albertus Magnus, Coast Guard Academy, New England College, Trinity College, Western Connecticut, and Westfield State 


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week One| Week Two | Week ThreeWeek Four| Week Five |Week Six |Week Seven |Week Eight|Week Nine | Week Ten|Week 11|Week 12|Week 13 

 

D3 Basketball: Sunday’s Conference Tournament Roundup

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It took two overtime sessions, but in the end, the Tufts University men’s basketball team was able to outlast Colby College, 102-94, to secure their first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Championship.

With the win, the Jumbos secured the conference’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament – the Powder Blue and White will find out their first-round opponent tomorrow when the pairings are released.

Eric Savage, who sent the game to overtime with a late three-pointer at the end of regulation, led all players with 27 points to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists. Luke Rogers also recorded a double-double of 25 points and 19 caroms while Brennan Morris finished with 16 points and six rebounds.

Tufts, which entered the 2020 NESCAC Tournament as the top seed, beat Colby last month, halting an 18-game winning streak that began with a 103-97 win over Ramapo in November. The Mules rebounded after their initial loss of the 2019-20 season by winning four of their final five regular-season contests before beating Bates College in triple-overtime in the NESCAC quarterfinals and Amherst College last night in the semifinals.

Dean Weiner paced the Mules with 23 points off the bench while Noah Tyson registered a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds to go with two steals and one assist. Matt Hanna concluded the game with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting.

Despite the setback, the Mules should receive an at-large bid to the national tournament after winning 24 of 27 contests and securing the second seed in the NESCAC Tournament.

The Bowdoin College women’s basketball team captured their first NESCAC crown since 2009 earlier this afternoon by defeating Tufts, 70-60. With the win, the Polar Bears secure the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The setback to the Polar Bears was the first for the Jumbos, who entered the 2020 NESCAC Tournament Championship on a 26-game winning streak. Tufts will receive an at-large bid to the postseason and will learn their first-round opponent tomorrow afternoon.

Maddie Hasson helped Bowdoin win their 25th contest of the season by recording a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds to go with three assists and two steals. Sela Kay finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds. 

Erica DeCandido led the Jumbos with 27 points and 10 rebounds while also tallying three assists, two blocks, and one steal.

Men’s Basketball

Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship: St. Joseph’s (Conn.) 88, Albertus Magnus 84: Coach Jim Calhoun is headed to the NCAA D-III Tournament, thanks to Delshawn Jackson Jr., who led the Blue Jays (and all players) with 46 points. Jackson, who recorded his 1,000th career point earlier in the title game, finished 16 of 23 from the field, including six of nine from beyond the arc.

St. Joseph’s led the Falcons, 44-25, at the break, but Albertus Magnus stormed back and closed the gap to four-points by outscoring the hosts, 59-44. Tyreek Perkins and Terry Dawkins combined for 47 points in the setback while Jahmerikah Green-Younger finished the game with 10 points.

New England Women’s and Men’s Basketball (NEWMAC) Championship: Coast Guard Academy 89, WPI 86 (OT): The Bears overcame a 25-point deficit at the break to not only force overtime but win their third NEWMAC Championship in program history. Coast Guard capped an impressive three-game, five-day tournament run that saw the Blue and Orange defeat Emerson College in the quarterfinals and Springfield College in the semifinals. Tyler Perez and Noah Baldez combined for 43 points while Packy Witkowski chipped in 19 points on 6 of 12 shooting. Garrett Stephenson paced WPI with a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds. 

Women’s Basketball

Little East Conference (LEC) Championship: Eastern Connecticut 49, Rhode Island College 44: Three members of the Warriors netted 12 points or more, including Danielle O’Brien, who finished with 15 points on five of nine shooting as Eastern Connecticut outlasted Rhode Island College and captured their seventh LEC title in program history. Maci Dorantes led Rhode Island College with 11 points off the bench.

NEWMAC (NEWMAC) Championship: Smith College 70, MIT 56: Elle Jo Whalen netted 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, including 12 defensive caroms while Jessie Ruffner added 15 points on 5 of 13 shooting as the Pioneers defeated the Engineers and claimed their first-ever NEWMAC Championship. Smith jumped out to a 21-4 lead and never looked back. Kylie Gallagher led MIT with 17 points while Jocelyn Luizzi added 16 points and 15 rebounds.