For the second time this month, the Tufts University men’s basketball team secured the top spot in our final New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Poll followed by Colby College and Springfield College.
The Jumbos, who captured their first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament title earlier this month, won a pair of NCAA Tournament games, including an exciting (and dramatic) opening-round win over Western Connecticut.
WPI secured the fourth position for the second time this month while Middlebury College switched positions with St. Joseph’s (Conn.). The Panthers advanced to this year’s NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid – they beat Westfield State in the opening round before falling to Brockport in the second round.
The Blue Jays of St. Joseph’s made their initial appearance in the ‘big dance’ under second-year coach Jim Calhoun, who guided the Blue and Yellow to the program’s first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship. Calhoun’s crew lost to Hobart in the opening round of the tournament, but the Blue Jays have a bright future – they will certainly be a team to watch in New England next winter.
Babson College secured the seventh position followed by Amherst College, Nichols College, and Brandeis University.
New England D-III Basketball Men’s Top 10 Week 15 Poll| Monday, March 17th, 2020
1. Tufts University
23-6, 8-2 NESCAC
Previously No. 1
2. Colby College
24-4, 8-2 NESCAC
Previously No. 2
3. Springfield College
23-5, 11-1 NEWMAC
Previously No. 3
20-8, 10-3 NEWMAC
Previously No. 4
5. Middlebury College
21-6, 6-4 NESCAC
Previously No. 6
6. St. Joseph’s (Conn.)
26-3, 11-0 GNAC
Previously No. 5
7. Babson College
20-7, 10-4 NEWMAC
Previously No. 7
8. Amherst College
18-8, 7-3 NESCAC
Previously No. 8
9. Nichols College
21-9, 12-4 CCC
Previously No. 9
10. Brandeis University
17-8, 9-5 UAA
Previously No. 10
ON THE RISE: Coast Guard Academy, New England College, and Western Connecticut
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.
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.
The road to the NCAA D-III Championship is finally upon us, which means its time to highlight the local teams that will be competing this Friday, March 6th in the opening round of the men and women’s basketball tournaments.
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.
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.
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.
Middlebury, which has won 20 of 24 contests this season, will begin its pursuit of a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament crown this Saturday, February 22nd when they visit Trinity College for a 3 p.m. tip-off. The Bantams of Trinity, which are the fourth seed in the 2020 NESCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament, did not appear on this week’s list.
Springfield College, which is currently the top team in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), checked-in second while WPI, Tufts University, and Colby College rounded out the top five. Tuft was the top team last week in the initial Northeast Regional Rankings of the current season.
Babson College secured the sixth position, St. Joseph’s (Conn.) placed seventh while Amherst College, Brandeis University, and Albertus Magnus rounded out the top ten positions, checking in eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively.
Finally, New England College joined the list, checking in 11th overall with an 18-6 overall record. The Pilgrims, who compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), have won seven-straight contests and will wrap up their 2019-20 regular season slate this evening when they host Eastern Nazarene College at 7 p.m.