NCAC Weekly Release (3-2-15) - Men's Basketball

NCAC Weekly Release (3-2-15) - Men's Basketball

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The North Coast Athletic Conference will be sending three teams to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament for the third time in the last four years and the fifth time in league history. NCAC Tournament champion DePauw (19-9) earned the league’s automatic bid into the field of 62, while tournament runner-up Wooster (22-6) and Ohio Wesleyan (22-5) each earned one of the 20 available at-large invitations into the national tournament. The Tigers will be appearing in the national tournament for the first time since 2007 and the 13th time in program history, while Wooster is in the field of 62 for the 13th-straight season and Ohio Wesleyan landed on the bracket for the fourth year in a row.

DePauw will open tournament play on Thursday (3/5) in St. Louis, Missouri, against Washington University (20-5), an at-large selection out of the University Athletic Association (UAA). Thursday’s winner will then travel to Rock Island, Illinois, on Saturday for a second-round matchup against Augustana (23-4), the automatic qualifier out of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). Wooster will travel to Marietta College in Ohio for its first- and second-round pod, while Ohio Wesleyan will travel to Wisconsin-Whitewater for its first- and second-round pod. The Fighting Scots will meet Misericordia (21-6), the automatic qualifier our of the Freedom Conference, in the first round on Friday, while the Battling Bishops will square off against St. Olaf (21-5), an at-large selection out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) on Friday as well. The Marietta pod will also feature a first-round matchup between the host Pioneers (25-3) and Medaille (19-7), while the other first-round game in Wisconsin matches up the host Warhawks (24-3) against Defiance (21-6). Game times for all three sites 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 the following weekend, March 13-14, while the semifinals and championship game will once again be played at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday, March 20-21.

The Fighting Scots have advanced to the third round of the national tournament in nine of the last 16 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 knocked off Saint Vincent, 76-67, in the opening round, before falling at home against Dickinson, 67-64, in the second round. The Fighting Scots have compiled an overall record of 30-24 in NCAA Div. III Tournament action. The Battling Bishops, winners of the 1988 national championship, hold an overall record of 8-4 in NCAA play after falling to St. Norbert, 87-79, in the opening round a year ago. The Tigers, which finished as the national runner-up in 1990, return to the tournament field for the first time in seven years this winter after dropping a 62-59 overtime decision against Whitworth in the opening round in 2007.

DePauw became the first team in league history to win the NCAC Tournament as the four seed after  the Tigers collected three-straight victories over Wittenberg, 79-75 (2-OT), Ohio Wesleyan, 69-65, and Wooster, 69-56. Wooster advanced to the title game for the 22nd time in program history after topping Denison, 106-68, in the quarterfinals and Wabash, 68-55, in the semifinals. DePauw senior guard Frank Patton III (Evansville, IN/Harrison) earned the Al Van Wie award as the tournament’s most valuable player after leading all scorers in the championship game with 20 points. In the three tournament games combines, Patton III scored 40 points (13.3 ppg) and dished out 12 assists (4.0 apg), while shooting 41 percent (9-of-22) from the field and 83 percent (20-of-24) from the free throw line. Patton III was joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore teammate Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick), Wooster senior Evan Pannell (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban), Wooster sophomore Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, OH/Green), Ohio Wesleyan sophomore Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) and Wabash junior Marcus Kammrath (Union Mills, IN/South Central).