The North Conference Athletic Conference will be sending three teams to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament for the second time in the last three years and the fourth time in league history. NCAC Tournament champion Wooster (25-3) earned the league's automatic bid into the field of 62, while tournament runner-up Wittenberg (21-7) and Ohio Wesleyan (20-7) each earned one of the 20 available at-large invitations. The Fighting Scots are making their 12th-straight appearance in the national tournament and 19th in the last 20 season's, while Wittenberg makes the program's 27th appearance in the national tournament and Ohio Wesleyan earned a spot on the bracket for the third year in a row and fifth time overall.
Wooster will host first- and second-round games this weekend at Timken Gymnasium with the Fighting Scots set to host Saint Vincent (22-6), the automatic qualifier out of the Presidents' Athletic Conference, in the first round on Friday. Wittenberg will travel to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, for its first- and second-round pod, while Ohio Wesleyan will travel to Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Indiana, for its first- and second-round pod. The Tigers will meet Calvin (22-5), the automatic qualifier out of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, in the first round on Friday, while the Battling Bishops will square off against St. Norbert (24-1), the automatic qualifier out of the Midwest Conference, on Friday. The Wooster pod will also feature a first-round matchup between SUNY-Geneseo (21-6) and Dickinson (21-6), Wash. Univ. (23-2) will take on Wilmington (OH) (19-8) in the first round in St. Louis, while Illinois Wesleyan (23-4) will host Webster (20-7) in the opening round in Bloomington. Game times for all three pods will be posted on the NCAC website as soon as they are released. First round winners from each pod will meet in the second round on Saturday with a berth into the sectional round on the line.
The sectional round will also be played on campus sites next weekend, March 14-17, while the semifinals and championship game will be played at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday, March 21-22.
The Fighting Scots have advanced to the third round of the national tournament in nine of the last 15 seasons, including advancing to the championship game in 2011, where they were upended by St. Thomas (MN), 78-54. In last year's tournament, Wooster posted a pair of wins over PSU-Behrend, 62-44, and Dickinson, 80-54, before being eliminated by Cabrini, 70-63, in the third round. The Fighting Scots have compiled an overall record of 29-23 in NCAA Div. III Tournament action. The Tigers own an overall record of 51-26 in the Div. III national tournament and advanced all the way to the title game in 2006 when they suffered a heartbreaking 59-56 loss at the hands of Virginia Wesleyan. The Battling Bishops, winners of the 1988 national championship, hold an overall record of 8-3 in the NCAA Tournament. The Bishops defeated Saint Vincent, 84-75, in the opening round a year ago, before being eliminated by Cabrini by an 84-81 margin.
Wooster's NCAC Tournament run featured wins against Oberlin, 89-56, Ohio Wesleyan, 78-67, and Wittenberg, 71-63, while Wittenberg advanced to the title game after defeating Denison, 64-49, and DePauw, 63-61. The three consecutive wins gave the Fighting Scots their 15th tournament crown all-time. Wooster senior Kenny DeBoer (Westerville, OH/North) received the 2014 Al Van Wie award as the tournament's Most Valuable Player. DeBoer, who tallied 15 points, six rebounds and four assists in the championship game, finished the three-game tournament as the leading scorer with 48 points (16.0 ppg) after shooting 47 percent (15-of-32) from the field and 64 percent (7-of-11) from three-point range. DeBoer was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Evan Pannell (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban), DePauw junior Tommy Fernitz (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North), Ohio Wesleyan senior Reuel Rogers (Columbus, OH/Bexley) and the Wittenberg senior duo of Zack Leahy (Rossford, OH/Rossford) and Scott Masin (New Carlisle, OH/Bethel).