Three Landmark Basketball Teams Earn NCAA Bids
MADISON, N.J. – Three Landmark Conference basketball teams have claimed spots in 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournaments. Both Landmark postseason champions earned automatic bids, while one women's team captured one of 20 at-large selections to the field.
On the women's side The Catholic University of America claimed its first Landmark title and is making the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, while Juniata College earns an at-large bid and is appearing in the Tournament for the third time in five years. The University of Scranton earned its fourth Landmark title in five years to make its fourth NCAA appearance in five years of Landmark play.
Catholic (22-5) earned its first Landmark title and NCAA berth on the strength of two road wins in the Landmark postseason and will open tournament play on Friday March 2 against Muhlenberg (22-5) in first and second round games played at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. Catholic is ranked in the top-10 in NCAA Division III in field-goal percentage defense and has established a new program record with its 22 wins. Catholic is 11-2 in road games this season and will face Muhlenberg at 5 p.m. with Mount Union facing LaRoche (22-5) at 7 p.m. in the night's other game. The winners will face off on Saturday, March 3.
Juniata (25-2) enjoyed one of the top regular seasons in program history and is in the tourney for the fourth time in program history. The Eagles are hosting the first and second round games and will take on Castleton State (22-5) in their first round game at a time TBD. St. Vincent College (22-6) and York College (Pa.) (22-5) will also play in the opening round with winners playing on Saturday. Juniata is ranked 10th in the latest Division III Coaches poll and the team's 25 regular season wins are a program record. Senior guard Ashton Bankos was voted Landmark Player of the Year and this is the first time in program history the Eagles have appeared in consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Scranton (20-7) won their second straight and fourth Landmark Conference championship in the last five years with a thrilling 78-70 victory over Juniata College this past Saturday, February 25, at the Long Center. Scranton will be making its second consecutive and sixth NCAA tournament appearance under 11th-year head coach Carl Danzig. Overall, the Royals have advanced to the NCAA field 24 times, including titles in 1976 and 1983, a runner-up finish in 1988, and a third-place showing in 1977. Scranton faces Messiah College (20-6) at 5:30 p.m. in the first round game which will be played at William Paterson in Wayne, N.J. Host William Paterson (24-3) will face Becker College (Mass.) (23-4) in the other first-round game, with the winners squaring off on Saturday.
Both the men's and women's tournaments will continue with sectional play March 9-10 at sites to be determined. The semifinals and finals will then be held March 16 and 17 with the women's tournament concluding at DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College in Holland, Mich, while the men's semifinals and finals will be held at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.