Photo by Jeff Brown
Senior co-captain John Casnocha played a huge role in the Jeffs' second straight NESCAC title, posting 20 points in the semis, and hitting a huge trifecta in the championship bout.

Fifth-Ranked Jeffs Draw First-Round Bye in NCAA Division III Tournament

February 27, 2006

AMHERST, MA – After winning its second straight NESCAC Championship, and its fourth in the six-year history of the tournament, on Sunday, the fifth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team drew one of five first-round byes in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament, for which pairings were announced early Monday morning. One of two NESCAC schools to make the 59-team field, the Jeffs will host an NCAA second-round matchup this Saturday, Mar. 4, at 7 p.m. against the winner of Thursday night’s first-round bout between Hamilton College and Plattsburgh State University. A win on Saturday would make Amherst a strong contender to host its second consecutive NCAA Sectional as well.

The Jeffs enter their seventh consecutive and ninth overall venture into the NCAA Tournament with an outstanding record of 25-2 and a 15-game win streak in tow. They have seen great success in the national scene in recent years, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 in 2002 and 2005, the national quarterfinals in 2003 and the program’s first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance in 2004.

Thirty-seven conferences are sending automatic qualifiers to the 2006 championship, joining four independent teams and 18 at-large bids to make up the 59-team field. The independents and at-large teams were selected by using specific selection criteria approved by the Division III Championships Committee.

Twenty-seven first-round games will be played this Thursday and Friday, with 16 second-round games to follow on Saturday. Second-round winners will advance to one of four sectional-round sites Mar. 10-11. Winners of the four sectionals will advance to the national finals Mar. 17 and 18. All games, except the finals, will be played on the campuses of competing institutions. The finals will be take place at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.

Full Tournament Bracket

NCAA FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS
North Central (Ill.) at St. Thomas (Minn.)
(Winner plays at Lawrence)

DePauw at Wis.-Whitewater

Ill. Wesleyan vs. Carroll (Wis.)
(at Wis.-Whitewater)

Claremont-M-S at Occidental
(Winner plays at Puget Sound)

Buena Vista at Augustana (Ill.)

Wis.-Stout vs. Carleton
(at Augustana (Ill.))

Farmingdale at Ursinus
(Winner plays at Va. Wesleyan)

Chris. Newport at Lincoln (Pa.)

Messiah vs. Alvernia
(at Lincoln (Pa.))

Villa Julie at Baruch

Scranton vs. Wm. Paterson
(at Baruch)

York (N.Y.) at York (Pa.)

Catholic vs. Widener
(at York (Pa.))

Plattsburgh State at Hamilton
(Winner plays at Amherst)

UMass Boston at Cortland State

Endicott vs. Tufts
(at Cortland State)

Bridgewater State at WPI

Utica vs. Gordon
(at WPI)

Elms at Norwich
(Winner plays at St. John Fisher)

Maryville (Mo.) at Mississippi College

Maryville (Tenn.) vs. Trinity (Texas)
(at Mississippi College)

Bethany (W.V.) at Transylvania

Randolph-Macon vs. Wooster
(at Transylvania)

Wis. Lutheran at Hope

Calvin vs. Wis.-Lacrosse
(at Hope)

Lake Erie at Wittenberg

Carnegie Mellon vs. Baldwin-Wallace
(at Wittenberg)