Wooster (16-2, 22-3) secured its 14th outright North Coast men’s basketball championship last week after sweeping a pair of league games against Allegheny (3-15, 6-19), 89-57, and Oberlin (4-14, 7-18), 82-53. The Fighting Scots lead the league with 16 titles all time, while Wittenberg is also in double digits with 11 conference crowns. Between the Fighting Scots and Tigers, one of the two teams have had at least a share of every NCAC men’s basketball championship dating back to the 1988-89 season. Allegheny and Ohio Wesleyan each boast four titles apiece. The Gators shared the championship with Wittenberg in 1993, with Wooster in 1989 and with Ohio Wesleyan in both 1988 and ‘86. The Battling Bishops also won outright titles in 1987 and ‘85.
As conference champions, Wooster will be the top seed in the 30th annual NCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament. Tournament play begins with quarterfinal games at campus sites on Tuesday (2/25) evening. Tournament seeding follows the regular season standings with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal contests. The Fighting Scots, who are ranked eighth in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25, host the eighth seed Oberlin at 7:30 p.m. Second seed DePauw (13-5, 18-7) hosts seventh seed Wabash (7-11, 8-16) at 8:00 p.m.; third-seeded Wittenberg (13-5, 19-6), which is ranked 22nd in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, hosts sixth-seeded Denison (8-10, 12-13) at 7:30 p.m., while fourth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (13-5, 19-6), which is ranked 18th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, entertains fifth-seeded Kenyon (9-9, 12-13) at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday’s winners will advance to the semifinals on Friday at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the quarterfinals. Semifinal games will be held at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. with the host institution playing in the later time slot. The championship game is set for 7:00 p.m. at the site of the semifinal contests. This year’s tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division Men’s Basketball Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 7th.
TOURNEY TALK: Wooster has won five of the last seven NCAC Tournaments, with only Ohio Wesleyan interrupting that string with titles in 2008 and 2013. The Battling Bishops upended the Fighting Scots by a 76-66 margin in last year’s championship game at Wooster. The Fighting Scots own 14 post-season titles with just over half of them coming as the No. 1 seed (1995, ‘99, ‘00, ‘03, ‘07, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11). Wittenberg is second with six tourney titles, while Ohio Wesleyan (5), Allegheny (3) and Kenyon (1) round out the list of past men’s tournament champions. Wooster has appeared in the finals 20 times, including 11-straight from 1997-2007, while Wittenberg has made 14 championship game appearances, followed by Allegheny (8), Ohio Wesleyan (8), Kenyon (3), Wabash (3) and Denison (1) ... Second-seeded DePauw is in search of its first NCAC Tournament win since joining the league in the 2011-12 academic year ... Wittenberg, which is making its 25th-straight appearance in the NCAC Tournament, is seeking its first tourney title since hoisting the trophy in 2006 ... Ohio Wesleyan, the defending NCAC Tournament champions, will be in search of its sixth tournament title all-time ... The fifth-seeded Lords, who are appearing in the tournament for the 11th year in a row, last won the tournament title in the 1994 season ... Denison is the sixth seed in the tournament and is in search of its first tournament title in program history. In 2012, the Big Red advanced to their first ever tournament championship game where they were narrowly upended by Wooster, 53-51 ... Wabash qualified for the tournament for the 15th year in a row since joining the league in the 1999-2000 academic year. The Little Giants made back-to-back championship game appearances in 2008 and ‘09, falling to OWU in ‘08, 89-72, and dropping an 84-72 decision against Wooster in ‘09 ... Oberlin is making its second-straight appearance in the NCAC Tournament and 11th overall. The Yeomen’s last tournament win came in 1992 with an 88-73 win over Allegheny in the quarterfinals ... Wooster leads all men’s teams with an overall .797 winning percentage (59-15) in tournament games. Wittenberg follows at .700 (42-18), while Ohio Wesleyan is next with a .537 winning percentage (29-25) and Allegheny is the only other men’s team above the .500 mark in tournament play at .511 (24-23).