Basketball Notebook: Sheldon Announces Retirement From Tufts University

Bob Sheldon, who has coached the Tufts University men’s basketball team for three decades, announced his retirement Thursday. (PHOTO COURTESY: TuftsNow)

By Matt Noonan 

Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regarding an update on the upcoming winter sports season, which has been canceled, Bob Sheldon, who has guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team for the past 33 years, announced he will be stepping down effectively on Thursday, December 31, 2020. 

Matt Malone, who has been an assistant under Sheldon for the past 15 years, will take over as the interim coach, according to Wednesday’s (Oct. 7) release from the Tufts University athletic department

Sheldon and the Jumbos matched a program record for wins (23) this past winter while capturing their first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship by outlasting Colby College in double-overtime

“I was getting near the end of my career as it was, and then when Covid came up and the craziness with that, I just felt that it was time for me to go,” said Sheldon, via the Tufts athletic department story, which can be seen (and read) on the school’s athletic website. 

Sheldon noted he “went back and forth” with his decision to retire, but seems content with his choice to leave a program that he believes is in “a good spot going forward.” 

Prior to their season concluding earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tufts won a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament games in Medford, including a come-from-behind win over Western Connecticut in the opening round. 

Sheldon, who is the program’s all-time winningest coach, would have entered his team’s 2020-21 season as one of the Top 25 NCAA D-III winningest coaches after being named the NESCAC and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Region Coach of the Year in March. 

The 2020-21 NESCAC winter sports season has been canceled: As noted above, the NESCAC became the first New England D-III conference to cancel its upcoming winter sports season on Thursday, October 7, after postponing its fall season on Friday, July 10

While health and safety were stressed in yesterday’s release regarding the decision by the conference’s presidents, the NESCAC did note that some of their schools have made “significant modifications” to their current academic calendar, which would limit the number of games each program would be able to compete in.  

The NESCAC has made no announcement regarding spring sports – an update will most likely come in a few months – but the conference did say the league’s 11 schools could schedule non-conference games if they choose to. However, D3Sports.com has reported that some schools within the conference have already made decisions for its various winter sports programs, including Middlebury College, which announced yesterday that they “will not hold any athletic competitions during the winter season.” 

Elms College to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): While it is uncertain if and when Elms College will resume athletic competition in the next few weeks or months, the athletic department did announce some exciting news earlier this week about joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the 2022-23 school year. 

The Blazers currently compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and would join a former member of the eight-team league – that would be Dean College – which joined the GNAC as a full-time member at the start of the current academic year (2020-21)

Both Elms College basketball teams competed last winter in the NECC Tournament with the women’s squad advancing to the conference championship game against Mitchell College

The GNAC has welcomed a few new schools to its conference over the past few years, including Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts in 2017, and Colby-Sawyer in 2018. 

D3 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Monday, February 17th, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Springfield College slid into the top spot in our weekly New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll after securing the second position one week ago. The Pride becomes our new top team after Tufts University secured the position last week.

Springfield, which has won 20 of 23 contests this season, heads into the final week of the regular season with some very important match-ups against third-ranked WPI and fourth-ranked Babson College. All three teams will compete in the upcoming New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament next week, but a loss to either squad could open the door for a new number one team in the league’s postseason.

Colby College moved up two spots this week – the Mules, who finished their conference slate with an 8-2 record, will be the second seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament, which begins this weekend. Tufts, which beat the Mules earlier this month, secured the top spot in the NESCAC Tournament despite ending its regular-season slate with back-to-back losses to fifth-ranked Middlebury College and Williams College.

St. Joseph’s (Conn.) clinched its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) crown this past weekend with a win over Emmanuel College. The Blue Jays have won 20 consecutive contests and will host a pair of games this week against Anna Maira College and Colby-Sawyer.

Brandeis University and Amherst College secured the eighth and ninth positions, respectively, while Trinity College returned to the poll, checking-in tenth overall.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week 12 Poll| Monday, Feb. 17th, 2020

1. Springfield College  20-3, 11-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 2 
2. Colby College 21-2, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4
3. WPI  19-4, 10-2 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8 
4. Babson College  19-4, 10-2 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 3
5. Middlebury College 20-4, 6-4 NESCAC Last Week: No. 5
6. Tufts University 18-6, 8-2 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
7. St. Joseph’s (Conn.) 21-2, 9-0 GNAC Last Week: No. 7
8. Brandeis University 15-7, 7-4 UAA Last Week: No. 6
9. Amherst College 17-7, 7-3 NESCAC Last Week: No. 9 
10. Trinity College 16-8, 6-4 NESCAC Last Week: Not Ranked 

ON THE RISE: Albertus Magnus, Endicott College, Emmanuel College, and Hamilton College


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

New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Jan. 10th-12th)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Another busy weekend of New England D-III college basketball is set to tip-off this afternoon and evening – hope you are ready for some great games to watch and follow!

Let’s begin with one game to watch in Medford, Massachusetts this evening as the Tufts University women’s basketball team welcomes Wesleyan University to Cousens Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Friday’s clash between the Cardinals and Jumbos marks the official start of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play.

Tufts enters tonight’s contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak, which has included recent wins over UMass DartmouthSUNYIT, and Wheaton College. Emily Briggs highlighted the Powder and Blue’s effort against the Lyons on Wednesday by connecting on 7 of 10 field goals for 19 points – she also made all three freebies. Erica DeCandido chipped in 13 points on six of eight shooting.

Wesleyan should certainly provide Tufts with some challenges on both ends of the court – the Cardinals have won eight of 11 contests thus far, including an early January clash with Babson College. The Cardinals began their 2019-20 campaign with six-straight wins.

In their last outing against SUNY Geneseo, last weekend, Caleigh Ryan and Katy O’Connor combined for 24 points, while Emma Roush added 10 points off the bench. 

A few other NESCAC women’s games to watch tonight and this weekend include Bowdoin College at Trinity College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), Amherst College at Middlebury College (1/10 at 7 p.m.), and Amherst at Williams College on Saturday, January 11th at 3 p.m.

On the men’s side of the NESCAC, keep an eye on Friday’s clash between Middlebury and Amherst. The Panthers have won 13-straight contests, including three consecutive 2020 meetings with Colby-SawyerSpringfield College, and Plattsburgh State. This particular outing should be a good test for the Panthers, but also the Mammoths, who began the new year with a 116-44 win over Lesley University before falling to Wesleyan three days later by a score of 79-77.

My prediction for Friday’s Amherst-Middlebury game is the following: The Mammoths will prevail and receive some major contributions from Grant Robinson, Fru Che, and Eric Sellew.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 11th), WPI will entertain Babson in a very enticing New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. The Engineers began conference play earlier this week against MIT, while the Beavers were edged on Wednesday by Springfield.

It’s too early to say this a must-win for the Beavers (or Engineers) as all eight teams play each other twice in a single-season, but this could be a potential preview of the conference championship game next month.

Other Games to Watch (and Follow) this Weekend: 

  • WBB: Framingham State at Westfield State (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 12 p.m.): The Rams can begin conference play with a win on the road against an Owls team, which has not won a game since beating Plymouth State in mid-to-late November.
  • WBB: Western New England at Wentworth Inst. of Technology (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): Look for the Golden Bears to bounce back after losing to WPI earlier this week. A win over the Leopards would provide WNE with their fourth conference win and keep them within at least one or two games of the University of New England.
  • WBB: Brandeis University at New York University (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 1 p.m.): The Judges face another 10-1 squad in an important conference meeting. Brandeis has won 10 of 11 contests this season so I expect that momentum will help them against the Violets.
  • MBB: Keene State at Rhode Island College (Saturday, Jan. 11th at 3 p.m.): This is an important meeting for both teams as the Anchormen and Owls are in a three-way tie with Western Connecticut for the top spot in the conference. Look for the Anchormen to bounce back after losing to Western Connecticut earlier this week.

D3 Basketball: Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll (Monday, Dec. 9th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

Babson College becomes our biggest mover this week, checking in second overall following a trio of impressive wins last week against Amherst College (No. 6), Salem State, and Tufts University (No. 10).

The Beavers, who captured this past weekend’s New England Big 4 Challenge, matched their program’s best start to a season with their ninth consecutive victory.

Babson is off until the end of the month when they face Eastern Connecticut in the Trinity Holiday Invitational.

Colby College also moved-up this week, checking-in third overall following their ninth-straight win this past weekend against Colby-Sawyer. The Mules are one of two undefeated teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and will certainly be a team to watch once the calendar turns to 2020.

Finally, we welcomed Albertus Magnus to this week’s poll – the Falcons have won eight-straight contests after starting their current campaign with an opening day loss to the University of Lynchburg.

The Falcons visit St. Lawrence University on Saturday before enjoying a few weeks off for the holidays.


New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week Five Poll| Monday, December 9th, 2019

1. Middlebury College 9-0, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Babson College 9-0, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8
3. Colby College  9-0, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 5
4. Springfield College  7-0, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 7
5. Hamilton College  8-1, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
6. Amherst College  4-2, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
7. Albertus Magnus  8-1, 0-0 GNAC Last Week: Not Ranked 
8. Nichols College 6-1, 1-0 CCC Last Week: No. 3
9. WPI 8-2, 0-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 9
10. Tufts University 6-2, 0-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 4

ON THE RISE: Brandeis University, Emmanuel College, Rhode Island College, and UMass Dartmouth


Previous Polls: Preseason Poll |Week One| Week Two | Week ThreeWeek Four

 

Colby College Secures Our New England D-III Men’s Basketball Team of the Month

Colby_Mules_logoBy Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Following an impressive first month of the 2019-20 New England D-III men’s basketball season, we have selected Colby College as our ‘Team of the Month’ for November.

The Mules, who recently improved to 7-0 this past weekend with a 106-102 win over Kean University, recently moved-up three spots in today’s New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll for Monday, December 2nd, 2019.

Colby has scored some impressive regional (and non-regional) wins thus far, including a 103-97 season-opening victory against Ramapo CollegeAlex Dorion led the Mules with a team-high 23 points, while Noah Tyson pulled down 10 rebounds.

Despite scoring eight points less than the Roadrunners in the second half, Colby managed to outscore Ramapo, 16-10, in the extra session to secure their first of seven consecutive wins.

Including their most recent win over Kean, the Mules boast a 4-0 record in Waterville, Maine, a 2-0 mark away from campus and a 1-0 record in neutral sites.

Two of the team’s six wins last month came against Gordon College (95-77) and New England College (103-67) in the Colby Classic.

This week, the Mules face Thomas College on Tuesday, December 3rd followed by a visit to Colby-Sawyer on Saturday, December 7th. Colby will then break for the holidays before visiting Southern Maine on Tuesday, December 31st.

Players to Watch: 

  • Sam Jefferson: 181 points through seven contests … has netted 61 of 90 field goals, including 28 of 48 three-pointers … He is first on the team in three-point percentage (58.3%) … Jefferson is 31 of 34 from the free-throw line … Jefferson has also recorded 23 rebounds, 37 assists, and 10 steals.
  • Matt Hanna: Second on the team in points (121) and fourth on the team in rebounds (24) … Leads the Mules in assists with 37 … Hanna has converted 14 of 17 free throws (82.4 %).
  • Noah Tyson: Leads the Mules with 56 rebounds through seven contests … Tyson has also recorded 11 assists and seven steals … Ranks fourth on the team in points (83).
  • Alex Dorion: Dorion has come off the bench to net 92 points on 33 of 58 shooting, including 24 of 44 from beyond the arc … The senior guard has registered 16 rebounds, 14 assists, and two swipes.