BETHANY, W.Va. – After winning the PAC Tournament championship Saturday night and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Bethany College men’s basketball team didn’t have to wonder if they were in the Big Dance, but only who they would be playing.
This is the Green and White’s fourth invitation to the NCAA Tournament in the last seven years. The last time Bethany played in the tourney was in 2006 when they suffered a 75-56 setback at Transylvania (Ky.) University in the first round. Transylvania went on to advance to the Elite Eight that season.
Capital brings a 23-5 record into the tournament and won the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) regular season championship. They received an at-large bid after losing in the OAC title tilt to Heidelberg 83-75. They were ranked 13th in the nation according to the D3Hoops.com national poll entering the final week after climbing to as high as eighth during the season.
As a team, Capital ranked third in the OAC this year in scoring with 80.3 per game, while also ranking third in points allowed at 70.2. The Crusaders limited teams to 41.3 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest in the conference, in addition to posting a league-leading +7.3 rebounding advantage for the season.
This is the second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the Crusaders. Last year, Capital was knocked out in the first round 69-55 by Centre. Overall, this is the seventh time Capital has played in the NCAAs and they have compiled a 5-6 record in those trips.
The winner of the Bethany/Capital contest advances to a second round match-up at Hope (Mich.) College Saturday. The Flying Dutchmen were ranked #3 in the D3Hoops.com poll last week before #1 Amherst and #2 Centre lost in their conference tournaments. Hope went 24-3 this year and won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) regular season and tournament championships. Game time for Saturday’s contest will be announced at a later time.