The Merrimack College men’s basketball program learned late Sunday evening that the Warriors earned an at-large selection to the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship, and will play in the program’s 10th NCAA Tournament beginning this weekend in Syracuse, N.Y. on the campus of Le Moyne College
The Warriors earned the sixth seed in the East Region and will return to the campus of Le Moyne College this weekend where the Dolphins will host regional play for the second consecutive season. Merrimack improved on its seeding by two spots from last season after qualifying as the No. 8 program in the East Region in 2017. The Warriors will face third-seeded Bridgeport in the regional quarterfinals, who the Warriors faced early in the regular season
“To make the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years is a great moment for our program, and the type of consistency we want to establish. I’d like to take a moment to thank both the regional and national committees for rewarding us with an at-large selection,” stated second-year head coach Joe Gallo. “The East Region proved to be as deep and talented as any year in recent memory. All the credit goes to our players and staff for putting in the daily work needed to reach regional play.”
Merrimack enters the tournament with 19 victories, one more win than the Navy and Gold had at this point last season. The Warriors reached the conference semifinals for the first time in eight years, and ended the season with victories in four of their final six games. Last season’s trip to the Big Dance featured an upset of the top-seeded Dolphins and a berth in the regional semifinals.
The Dolphins earned the region’s top spot after claiming the No. 1 billing in all three regional polls leading up to Selection Sunday. Le Moyne won the Northeast-10 Conference Championship to secure the conference’s automatic qualifier. Saint Thomas Aquinas defeated Bridgeport to claim the East Coast Conference’s auto-bid while Jefferson University won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference to snatch the CACC’s automatic qualifier.
The Purple Knights earned the highest seed among the at-large selections at No. 3. Saint Anselm (No. 4), Saint Rose (No. 5) and Bloomfield (No. 7) rounded the remaining at-large selections.
The regional quarterfinals will be played at Ted Grant Court on Saturday, with official game times announced later in the week. The semifinals are set for Sunday, and the regional final will be played on Tuesday, March 13.
NCAA East Regional
Saturday, March 10 – First Round
No. 1 Le Moyne vs. No. 8 Jefferson
No. 2 Saint Thomas Aquinas vs. No. 7 Bloomfield
No. 3 Bridgeport vs. No. 6 Merrimack
No. 4 Saint Anselm vs. No. 5 Saint Rose
Sunday, March 11 – Semifinals
Tuesday, March 13 – Championship