Two of the three NCAA divisions will be immersed in tournament play by the close of this week.
The Division III tournament kicked off last weekend. Four of the top-12 teams in the country were clustered at one sub-regional site in Holland, Mich. Host school Hope upset No. 8 DePauw while previously undefeated and 10th-ranked Denison fell in the first round to defending NCAA Division III Champion Washington University (Mo.).
There are two undefeated teams remaining in the bracket as 30-0 Thomas More hosts Washington University this weekend for a Friday regional semifinal game. Babson (29-0) will face Bowdoin in Amherst, Mass. The second-ranked host Lord Jeffs of Amherst will face Muhlenberg.
In the top halves of the bracket, third-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point will host George Fox with Coe and Illinois-Wesleyan also traveling to Stevens Point. No. 9 Kean will face Christopher Newport while host Lebanon Valley faces off against William Paterson.
The Division II tournament is set up differently from the other two divisions. Play begins on Friday at eight regional sites around the country with second-round games on Saturday and third-round games on Monday, March 21. The final eight teams will then assemble in St. Joseph, Mo., for the final three rounds of the tournament. National quarterfinals take place Tuesday the 22nd, national semifinals on Wednesday the 23rd and the NCAA Championship game on Friday, March 25.
All eight Division II host sites are on the campus for that region’s top seed. Those schools include: Arkansas Tech, Michigan Tech, Northeastern State (Okla.), Cal Poly Pomona, Fort Lewis, Edinboro, Bentley and Clayton State.
Need to Know
• Top-seeded Tennessee captured the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 90-65 win against second-seeded Kentucky on Sunday in Nashville. Angie Bjorklund scored 23 points, including seven 3s, and No. 4 Tennessee hit a school- and tournament-record 16 3-pointers.
• Christopher Newport senior Chelsie Schweers became the only women’s basketball player in the history of the NCAA to hit 400 3-pointers in her career. Nine seconds into an 81-62 win against Johns Hopkins, Schweers hit her 398th career 3-pointer, passing Melissa Beyruti (Kean) and taking sole possession of the top spot.
• Amanda Best of New Mexico earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors, leading the Lobos to a split with BYU and Air Force last week. She had 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a 65-49 loss to BYU in her final game at The Pit. On Saturday in an overtime win at Air Force, Best had 20 points and a career-high 21 rebounds. She also tied her career-high with seven field-goals made after attempting a career-high 18. For the week, she averaged 15.0 points, 14.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
• Nikki Wilborn of Greensboro College hit a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining to lead the Pride to a 57-55 win against Juniata, advancing GC to its first sectional-round appearance in program history.
• Xavier won the Atlantic 10 tournament title game on Monday, coming from behind for the 67-60 win against Dayton. Led by Ta’Shia Phillips’ 26 points, including the go-ahead basket with 91 seconds left to play.
• Princeton captured the Ivy League title, clinching the regular season with a 68-59 win against Harvard on Friday night. The Tigers (23-4) were the first team to clinch a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament, as the Ivy League does not hold a league championship tournament and their automatic bid goes to the regular season champion.
• Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot is the 2011 recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding female collegian 5-feet-8-inches and under who has excelled both athletically and academically.
• Bowling Green Director of Athletics Greg Christopher will serve as the chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee during the 2011-12 academic year. He is currently serving his third year as a member of the committee and will be the first male to serve as committee chair.