Sure, the 2016-17 Division III basketball season concluded last weekend with a pair of Massachusetts champions – congratulations again to Amherst College and Babson College! – but it is never too early to think about next season, the 2017-18 season, to be exact.
Below are some teams we’re already eye-balling for next season (2017-18) – let us know what teams you’re going to be keeping an eye on by sending us a tweet on Twitter (@NoontimeSports).
It’s been a few days since Babson College captured its fist-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship and coach Stephen Brennan’s phone is still buzzing with text messages, phone calls and emails.
Babson’s win provided a great deal of excitement to both Massachusetts and New England college basketball fans. They all feel touched by this particular victory, according to Brennan, including Babson’s conference foes and regional opponents.
“(This win) has touched multiple members of our community from alums to our opponents (in the northeast),” said Brennan, “so it’s certainly nice to touch so many people and share it with our friends and friends of our program.”
The win also touched a quartet of Babson alums – David Mack, Travis Sheldon, Eric Dean and John Wickey – that positioned the Beavers over the past few years for a potential national title-run. And despite coming-up short two years ago in the national semifinals, Babson was able to avenge its disappointing setback with a dramatic one-point victory.
“The key for success is you have to pay the rent,” said Brennan, “and this team (especially the seniors) put in the time.”
The senior class certainly put in the time, they will depart Babson Park with 103 victories, which is the most wins in program history.
Joey Flannery, who was certainly a catalyst behind the Beavers’ run toward the program’s initial national crown, concluded his career with 2,620 points, which positions him eighth all-time in Division III history. Additionally – and as noted in the game’s release – he also scored 167 points in six NCAA Tournament games this season.
Brennan and the Beavers will continue to enjoy this special accomplishment, but know a new season will be here soon. And in order to continue their current success, the tenured coach knows his team will need to ‘pay the rent’ every day.
“Everyone will have to grow,” said Brennan. “We’ll need to continue our current work ethic and culture (moving forward, while continuing) our toughness and work ethic, too.”
In anticipation of this week’s NCAA Division III men’s and women’s basketball semifinals and finals, Noontime Sports the Podcast welcomed back Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle to preview and predict the various outcomes of this week’s contests.
Babson College and Williams College each advanced to the men’s semifinals, while Amherst College and Tufts University secured spots in the women’s semifinals.
The road to the ‘Final Four’ is complete. Babson College and Williams College advance to the national semifinals on the men’s side, while Amherst College and Tufts University secured spots on the women’s side.
Below is this evening’s scoreboard with links to box scores courtesy of D3Hoops.com.
No. 6 Middlebury 89, Endicott 60: Matt St. Amour netted a team-high 21 points, while Jake Brown added 19 points and eight assists as the Panthers defeated the Gulls in Vermont en route to a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rematch with Williams in the sectional finals.
Williams 78, No. 17 Susquehanna 61: Kyle Scadlock powered the Ephs with a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds as Williams secured a conference tournament final rematch with the Panthers on Saturday.
Keene State 68, No. 2 Christopher Newport 64: The Owls’ pursuit of some NCAA hardware continued Friday evening as they overcame an eight-point deficit at the break to defeat No. 2 Christopher Newport in Babson Park. Jeff Lunn led all players with 20 points, while pulling down eight rebounds.
No. 3 Babson 87, No. 14 Tufts 80: The Beavers overcame a one-point deficit at the break to defeat the Jumbos en route to their second sectional finals in three seasons. Babson’s Joey Flannery exploded for a game-high 38 points , while Isaiah Nelsen added 22 points on 10 of 16 attempts from the field.
No. 1 Amherst 63, Babson 39: Four members of the Purple & White’s starters tallied 11 points or more as top-ranked Amherst defeated Babson to advance to Saturday’s sectional finals. Emily McCarthy paced the Purple & White, connecting on 8 of 9 shots from the field for 21 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
UMass Dartmouth 67, SUNY New Paltz 57:Make it three-straight NCAA Tournament wins for Matt Ducharme‘s unit as the Corsairs advanced to their first-ever sectional finals. Alicia Kutil recorded 17 points and nine rebounds for UMass Dartmouth, while Rachel McCarron tallied 15 points.
No. 4 Tufts 65, No. 17 Scranton 48: Jac Knapp tallied a career-high 20 points, Michela North registered her 42nd double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Jumbos cruised past the Royals for the second straight season en route to the sectional finals.