The No. 13 ranked MIT men’s basketball team had to wait until the final pairing was announced, but the Engineers will be among the field of 61 teams for the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Cardinal and Grey will take on DeSales University on Friday, March 5, in the opening round of a four-team regional hosted by William Paterson University. The host Pioneers will take on Albertus Magnus in the other first round match-up, with the winners advancing to play Saturday, March 6, at 7 p.m. Friday’s games will be played at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. It has not yet been determined which teams will play at which time.
MIT received an at-large bid to the tournament after being upset by the eventual New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Champion, Clark University, in the semifinal round. The Engineers captured the NEWMAC regular season crown with a 10-2 record in conference play. Tech (22-4) became the winningest team in program history and rose as high as No. 8 in the national rankings while winning the outright regular season NEWMAC title for the first time in program history.
MIT is led by sophomore Noel Hollingsworth, who averages a team and conference high 20.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Freshman point guard Mitchell Kates averages 13.3 points, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals. As a team, the Engineers are among the stingiest in the country, surrendering just 58.8 points per game, the eighth best mark in all of Division III.
The Engineers advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament, defeating host Rhode Island College, 73-68, before falling to eventual national quarterfinalist Farmingdale State, 67-61. That appearance was the first in the program’s 109-year history.
The regular season and tournament champion of the Freedom Conference, DeSales’ record currently sits at 22-5 overall. The Bulldogs captured the Freedom Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by beating King’s College in the semifinal round before knocking off Misericordia University in the Freedom Conference Championship. They are led by senior Darnell Braswell, who averages 21.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and recently became the all-time leading scorer in school history. This will be MIT’s first-ever match-up with DeSales.
In addition to MIT, Clark will also represent the NEWMAC in the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars earned the conference’s automatic bid to the “Big Dance” and will play first round contest at Albright College on Friday.