Jake Wisniewski will play in his first NCAA Tournament game on Friday, March 6th with the WPI
Chris Bartley and the WPI men’s basketball team were determined to find a way into the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament, despite falling to Coast Guard Academy last weekend in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship.
WPI scored some important and impressive wins this season, including a few against some squads that will be competing this afternoon and evening in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. And those victories certainly impressed the committee, which rewarded the Engineers with an at-large bid to the ‘big dance,’ but also a challenging opening-round match-up with Yeshiva University.
The Engineers have not competed in the NCAA Tournament since 2016, but Bartley seemed to determined to lead this year’s squad to the postseason so he could provide his two seniors with an opportunity to contend for a national championship before departing campus later this spring.
Wisniewski and Doherty have attempted to lead the Engineers back to the postseason as first-years, sophomores, and juniors, but will finally have a chance to compete in an NCAA Tournament game this afternoon against a talented Maccabees squad that has not lost a game since early November.
For WPI to advance to Saturday’s second round, they will need both seniors, along with juniors Kahleb Downing, Colin McNamara, and Garrett Stephenson to play their best basketball of the season.
WPI has not advanced past the first round since the 2012-13 season when they beat PurchaseCollege, 80-67, before falling to Randolph-Macon by a score of 79-68.
Sean Kent and the MIT Football team are making their second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation
In just three days, a trio of New England D-III football teams will begin their pursuit of the ultimate prize: a national championship. And one of those teams is the MIT Engineers, who will travel to Allentown, Pennsylvania to face Muhlenberg College.
MIT is making its second-straight appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament, as well as it’s third since 2014. The Engineers are 1-2 in their last three national postseason contests and will attempt to even their mark against an impressive Mules squad, which yet to drop a single contest this season.
Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.
MIT (7-2) at Muhlenberg (10-0)
Gametime/Location: Saturday, November 23rd at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Scotty Wood Stadium.
Conference Affiliate: Muhlenberg competes in the Centennial Conference (CC) – they finished 9-0 against league opponents. MIT competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and won six of seven league tilts this fall.
Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Both teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. MIT, which captured its first-ever NEWMAC crown last fall, saw its run toward a national championship conclude in the opening round against Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Delaware Valley (20-13) and Randolph-Macon (35-6) before falling to Mount Union, 38-10.
Inside the Numbers with MIT: The Engineers rank 124th in scoring offense, averaging 26.4 points per game. They have scored 30 touchdowns this fall while kicking eight field goals … MIT’s defense and ConcordiaWisconsin are tied for 77th in scoring defense, yielding 21.00 points per contest … MIT is averaging 333.6 yards of total offense (153.9 rushing and 179.7 passing yards) … The defense has yielded an average of 174.4 passing yards per game while limiting opposing rushing attacks to just 117.0 yards per game.
Inside the Numbers with Muhlenberg: The Mules are currently the 17th highest-scoring offense in D-III, averaging 41.9 points per game. They have scored 56 touchdowns in 10 contests while recording nine field goals. Muhlenberg has converted 52 PATs and recorded one safety for 419.00 points … The Mules boast the ninth-best scoring defense, yielding an average of 11.70 points per game … Muhlenberg is averaging 439.1 yards of total offense (281.60 passing yards per game and 157.5 rushing yards) … The Mules have limited opposing rushing attacks to 70.6 yards per game while the defense is limiting offenses to just 200.30 yards of passing per game.
MIT Players to Watch:
Chris Mauck (QB) – Enters Saturday’s contest with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a starter … Mauck has completed 121 of 241 passes for 1,609 yards
Ashton Robinson (RB) – Has rushed for a career-high 366 yards on 95 carries in eight contests this season, along with three touchdowns.
Keithen Shepard (WR) – Leads the Engineers with 10 receiving touchdowns … the third-year receiver has caught a team-high 35 passes for 542 yards.
Mark Wright (Kicker) – Wright has connected on 8 of 11 field goals with his longest kick being a 43-yarder … he is 22 of 26 on extra points … he has produced 46 points in nine games.
Sean Kent (Defensive Back) – The senior defensive back leads the Engineers with 58.0 total tackles … He has recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss of 10 yards while registering two interceptions and five pass break-ups.
Muhlenberg Players to Watch:
Frankie Feaster (DE) – Named the CC Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season … Feaster helped the Mules defense set a conference record of yielding just 91 points in nine conference contests.
Michael Hnatkowsky (QB) – Named the CC Offensive Player of the Year … He has tossed a school-record 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions … He ranks third in D-III in passing efficiency, completion percentage (sixth), and passing touchdowns (seven).
James Diggs (RB) – Diggs is averaging 70.0 rushing yards per game, which is fourth in the CC … He has scored seven rushing touchdowns this season.
Ryan Curtis (TE) – Named a first-team All-CC honoree … has caught 10 touchdowns and set the conference mark for career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end.
John Washington (DB) – Washington has recorded 28 tackles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions as a first-time starter with the Mules.
Todd Spirt (Kicker) – Spirit leads the conference with 78 points … he is the CC all-time leader in extra points made with 185 (he set a program record with 56 extra points made last season.
So, without further ado, here is our own “lighting round” version of Games to Watch in Week Three – have an awesome weekend, everyone!
Framingham State at Bridgewater State (Friday, Sept. 15th at 7 p.m.): This is a must-win for the Bears, but a HUGE game for the Rams. Framingham State picked-up a big win last week, defeating Cortland State at home, thanks to its defense. PICK: Framingham State 23, Bridgewater State 17
Frostburg State at Christopher Newport (Saturday, Sept. 16th at 7 p.m.): Don’t sleep on these Bobcats, who have scored back-to-back wins this season, including a season-opening victory against Stevenson. These Bobcats should continue their offensive success again this weekend against the Captains. PICK: Frostburg State 30, Christopher Newport 21
Randolph-Macon at Catholic (Saturday, September 16th at 1 p.m.): An impressive week two win over Utica has provided Catholic with some momentum. This week, they face a Randolph-Macon squad that has relied on both its offense and defense to win back-to-back games. This will be a good test for the Cardinals before entering New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play. PICK: Randolph-Macon 28, Catholic 16
Wesleyan at Middlebury (Saturday, September 16th at 1 p.m.): The Cardinals are one of our teams to watch this fall in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and they should certainly find a way to slow down the Panthers’ passing and running games en route to an opening day win. PICK: Wesleyan 27, Middlebury 14
Hamilton at Tufts (Saturday, September 16th at 1 p.m.): Coming off their best season in years, these Jumbos enter the 2017 season with optimism, but also some questions, too. Who will step-up at tailback with Chance Brady gone to graduation? That is one question, but we’ll certainly learn more about the Powder Blue and White once the final whistle is sounded. PICK: Tufts 26, Hamilton 21
Endicott at MIT (Saturday, September 16th at 1 p.m.): Can quarterback Joe Kalosky and the Gulls continue their magic from a week ago? It is certainly possible, but these Gulls will need to find a way to stop MIT’s Andrew DeNucci, who will be a player to watch on defense this week. PICK: Endicott 17, MIT 14
Brockport at St. John Fisher (Saturday, September 16th at 6 p.m.): Brockport State quarterback Joe Germinerio has been quite impressive this season, but can he continue his success against a solid St. John Fisher squad that is searching for its initial win? We think so! PICK: Brockport State 24, St. John Fisher 17
Western New England at RPI (Saturday, September 16th at 12 p.m.): This is a BIG game for the Golden Bears, who scored a bounce-back win a week ago against Westfield State. This would be a HUGE win for the Blue and Gold, but RPI has looked extremely impressive the past two weeks. PICK: RPI 27, Western New England 24
SUNY Maritime at Merchant Marine (Saturday, September 16th at 2 p.m.): SUNY Maritime is proving they can win games in all phases – offense, defense and special teams. They will certainly need every unit to be ready for this one, but Merchant Marine is coming off a bye week, which means Coach Mike Toop‘s squad will be ready to go come kick-off. PICK: Merchant Marine 39, SUNY Maritime 35
Below is a breakdown of each matchup, along with what teams they’ll be facing in the first or second round.
Amherst, which captured their third-straight NESCAC crown yesterday, earned a first-round bye. They’ll host the winner of Rhode Island College vs. York (N.Y.) on Saturday, March 8. RIC-York will play in Rhode Island on either March 6 or 7.
MIT, which won their third NEWMAC crown in four seasons, will travel to Plattsburgh State for a first-round matchup. If the Engineers are victorious against the Cardinals, they’ll advance to the second round and face the winner of Eastern Connecticut vs. Husson.
Bridgewater State, the winner of the MASCAC Conference, will travel to Cabrini for their first-round contest. A win for the Bears would pit them against the winner of Richard Stockton vs. Bowdoin College.
WPI will travel to SUNY Purchase for their first-round contest. The Engineers will take on Albertus Magnus, which won its third-straight GNAC crown. A win for WPI would advance them to the second round against either Purchase State or Hartwick.
Williamstown, the home of Williams College, will be the site of three local squads competing for a chance to advance to the third round. Williams College will play Mitchell College, the winner of the NECC Conference, while Babson will take on Gordon College, which captured the CCC Conference Crown with a win over Nichols. The winners of both contests will meet on Saturday.
Finally, Springfield College will travel to Randolph-Macon to play Mary Washington. If the Pride wins, they’ll face the winner of Randolph-Macon vs. DeSales.