AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Amherst has earned its second ever bid to the Division III NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament with a No. 4 seed in the Northeast region. The Jeffs are scheduled to host No. 5 Colby (20-4) on Thursday, March 6th at 7:30pm.
Over 300 Division III schools were eligible for places in this year's field of 64 tournament teams. Eight teams from each of eight geographical regions were selected, including four NESCAC squads. The pairings for the Northeast region are listed below.
Amherst finished its regular season on Saturday with a 77-74 win over Skidmore to post a 20-4 record. In a season that has already seen four school records fall and several milestones surpassed, the Jeffs boasted an 11-game win streak that featured wins over four of the top-10 teams in the Northeast. Amherst has outscored opponents by 13.3 ppg while the Jeffs average 85.8 ppg, the most so far in school history.
The Jeffs have been led offensively by senior tri-captain Jamal Wilson (East Orange, NJ), who has upped his scoring average to 24.3 ppg by scoring 30+ points in each of his last four games. John Pavelski (Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ) continues to be a force on both ends of the court, pulling down 6.7 rebounds per game while putting up 18.1 points per game.
Amherst and Colby have already met once this season, also here in Amherst with Colby prevailing 81-67. "We didn't play well that game," noted Head Coach David Hixon. "I'm hoping to get more people involved in our offense and to get firing on all cylinders again. That will be a key for us."
The last time the Jeffs earned an NCAA bid was in 1994 when Amherst earned a No. 3 seed in the Northeast with a 20-4 record. With only 40 teams in 1994 tournament, the Jeffs faced Colby (No. 6, 21-3) in the second round and posted an 80-77 win in LeFrak Gymnasium. An 80 71 upset of Franklin & Marshall, the No. 1 seed in the Middle Atlantic Region, advanced Amherst into the Sectional Finals against Lebanon Valley, the Middle Atlantic's No. 2 seed. Here in the Elite Eight, the Jeffs fell 87-79 to the eventual national champion and finished the 1993-1994 season with a 22-5 record.
Northeast Regional Seeds (games to be played on Thursday at higher seed)
No. 8 Wentworth (20-7) at No. 1 Williams (22-2)
No. 7 Salem State (23-3) at No. 6 Springfield (23-4)
No. 6 Tufts (19-5) at No. 2 UMass-Dartmouth (20-6)
No. 5 Colby (20-4) at No. 4 Amherst (20-4)