Springfield, Ohio — The Wittenberg University men’s basketball team has earned an at-large berth into the 2014 NCAA Division III Tournament. The Tigers, who finished the 2013-14 regular season with a 21-7 overall record after losing to Wooster in the championship game of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament on Saturday, March 1, will face Calvin College in the first round at 5:30 p.m. (CST) Friday, March 7, at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Wittenberg, ranked 22nd in the latest d3hoops.com national poll, is making its NCAA Division III-record 27th appearance in the national tournament, and its third in four years, including a second-round loss to Marietta in 2011 and a quarterfinal loss to Illinois Wesleyan in 2012. Wittenberg also made seven appearances in the NCAA College Division between 1959 and 1974, giving the Tigers 34 all-time national tournament berths.
Washington University, which won the University Athletic Association (UAA) championship, will host first and second round games. After the Tigers square off with Calvin, the tournament champion of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), the host Bears, ranked third in the nation, will tip off against Wilmington College, champion of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament. The winners will play a second round game at 7 p.m. (CST) Saturday, March 8, for the right to advance to the Round of 16 at a site to be determined.
Wittenberg is making its 12th NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in Head Coach Bill Brown’s 20 seasons at the helm. His teams have won seven NCAC regular season titles and four NCAC Tournament championships, in addition to reaching a pair of NCAA Division III Tournament semifinals (1994 and 2006) and the 2006 national championship game. Wittenberg holds the NCAA Division III record with seven national semifinal appearances.
The Tigers started the 2013-14 season with 12 wins in their first 13 games, highlighted by victories over Grove City (Pa.) and Kean (N.J.) in the Charles B. Zimmerman Memorial Classic Dec. 29-30 on their home floor. Wittenberg went on to finish 13-5 in the NCAC, good for a three-way tie with Ohio Wesleyan and DePauw in the regular season standings.
The Tigers’ first-round opponent, Calvin, is making its 19th NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. The Knights have a 32-19 record in national tourney play, highlighted by titles won in 1992 and 2000. Wittenberg is 6-1 all-time against Calvin, including a 5-1 mark in NCAA Division III Tournament games.
Calvin won the MIAA Tournament title with a 78-53 victory over top-seeded Hope on Saturday, March 1. The Knights stand 22-5 overall on the 2013-14 season.
Wittenberg’s all-time NCAA Tournament record is 65-34, including a College Division national championship in 1961 and an NCAA Division III championship in 1977. The Tigers’ record in the NCAA Division III Tournament is 51-26, including a mark of 16-3 in first round games (excluding seven byes).
Written By: Ryan Maurer