NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After beginning the year picked near the bottom of the Northeast-10 Conference and expected to experience a transition season under first-year head coach Joe Gallo, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team learned on Sunday night that it earned an at-large selection to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship and will be the eighth seed in this weekend’s East Regional hosted in Syracuse, N.Y.
The selection marks the ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and first since the 2009-10 campaign. The Warriors finished the season with 18 wins, and were regionally ranked as high as fifth by the NCAA Selection Committee when polls began on February 15.
“First off I’d like to thank the selection committee for allowing us to continue our season in the NCAA East Regional. This group has worked incredibly hard since day one and we’re proud to represent Merrimack College in the NCAA Tournament,” Gallo stated. “We’re looking forward to getting back to practice this week as we prepare for the opening round against Le Moyne.”
The Le Moyne College Dolphins earned the right to host the region as an at-large selection after winning the NE10’s Southwest Division and totaling 22 victories on the year. Saint Anselm collected the NE10’s automatic qualifier as the NE10 Final victor and will be the fourth seed. Saint Thomas Aquinas prevailed as the East Coast Conference champion and are seeded fifth, while Bloomfield College won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference and enter the regional seeded in the No. 6 spot
The other four at-large berths were awarded from the NE10 as the conference earned six berths to the regional for just the second time in league history. Southern New Hampshire will be the No. 2 seed after winning the Northeast Division. Saint Rose slots in as the third-seeded program following a 24-win campaign and Southern Connecticut ranked one spot above the Warriors at No. 7.
The opening round games will be played at Ted Grant Court on Saturday, with game times to be announced later in the week. The regional semifinals will be on Sunday, while the regional final is set for Tuesday, March 14.
NCAA East Regional
Saturday, March 11 – First Round
No. 1 Le Moyne vs. No. 8 Merrimack
No. 4 Saint Anselm vs. No. 5 Saint Thomas Aquinas
No. 3 Saint Rose vs. No. 6 Bloomfield
No. 2 Southern New Hampshire vs. No. 7 Southern Connecticut
Sunday, March 12 – Semifinals
So. New Hampshire/So. Connecticut winner vs. Saint Rose/Bloomfield winner
Le Moyne/Merrimack winner vs. Saint Anselm/Saint Thomas Aquinas winner
Tuesday, March 14 – Championship