Parts of this release are courtesy of MIT and Springfield Sports Information.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The NCAA released the field of 64 for the upcoming Men's Basketball National Championship on Monday afternoon. The NEWMAC will see two representatives in the championship with MIT earning the AQ while Springfield was the 64th team announced during the selection show with an At-Large bid.
Coming off the program's second straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, the MIT men's basketball team has earned the league's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship. The Engineers will take on Brockport in a first-round matchup that will take place on March 2nd at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
The Engineers, who are ranked No. 25 nationally, earned the program's sixth NEWMAC Championship with a 63-57 win over WPI on Sunday afternoon. This is the second straight NCAA appearance and eighth overall for MIT under head coach Larry Anderson. Leading the way over the weekend was tournament Most Outstanding Player AJ Jurko (Weston, Fla.), who averaged 19.5 points, five rebounds and 9.5 assists per game that included 23 points in the semifinal win over Babson. Jurko was also 7-for-11 from three-point land in the pair of wins.
This marks the first-ever meeting between MIT and Brockport as the Golden Eagles earned an at-large bid to the tournament after falling in the semifinals of the SUNYAC Tournament. Brockport finished with a record of 19-7 overall and are under the direction of head coach Greg Dunne.
For the first time since 2015, the Springfield College men's basketball team is headed back to the NCAA Championship by virtue of an at-large berth and will face Albright College at Cabrini University on March 2 at 5:30 pm. The Pride learned its fate on the selection show Monday afternoon and was the last team announced in the 64-team field.
One of 21 at-large bids from across the country, this is the sixth time that head coach Charlie Brock has led the Pride to the NCAA Championship. Springfield advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2000, reached the second round in 2005, hosted a first round game in 2013, and played in a first round game in 2014 and 2015. Springfield will enter this year's tournament with an 18-8 record and has won 14 of its last 17 contests.
Over the weekend, Springfield played in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinal and was the outright regular-season NEWMAC champion for the first time in program history. The Pride has been led all season by Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) who is averaging 24.3 points per game to go along with 9.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.5 seals per contest.
Albright is currently receiving votes in the latest D3hoops.com National Poll and owns a 20-6 record this season. The Lions went 12-4 in MAC Commonwealth conference play and were the top seed in their conference tournament before being upended by Lebanon Valley in the championship. The Lions are averaging 82 points per game, with three players averaging in double digures, led by DeJaun Smith's 16.9 points per contest. As a team, Albright ranks 11th in Division III in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.3) and 16th in field goal percentage (39.7).