The Wildcats have earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship, which gets underway next weekend with eight regional tournaments across the country. The full 64-team NCAA tournament bracket was announced in a selection show broadcast on NCAA.com.
The tournament field is broken down into eight regions, consisting of eight teams each. Each of the 24 conference champions earns an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA DII tournament. The Division II Men’s Basketball Committee will select the remaining 40 at-large bids.
Daemen is the No. 5 seed in the East Region, and the Wildcats will meet fourth-seeded University of New Haven in a first-round game on Saturday, March 16 in Saint Anselm College’s Stoutenburgh Gymnasium in Manchester, N.H. Saint Anselm was awarded the region’s No. 1 seed and host privileges for the entire regional tournament. The top-seeded Hawks will meet eighth-seeded Molloy College, which captured its first-ever East Coast Conference championship.
Saturday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between Daemen and New Haven. The winner advances to Sunday’s regional semifinals to face either Saint Anselm or Molloy. A full opening-round preview will be posted to daemenwildcats.com later this week.
Daemen will make its NCAA tournament debut after posting a 24-5 record so far this season. The Wildcats recorded a 16-2 record in East Coast Conference play, resulting in the program’s second ECC regular season title, but were upset 79-77 by the University of Bridgeport in the ECC Championship semifinals.
Daemen is ranked in the top-20 of both Division II national polls (No. 12 in D2SIDA poll; No. 19 in NABC poll), and had been ranked No. 2 in the official regional rankings compiled by the regional advisory committee each of the last three weeks. Daemen owns a 3-2 record this season against teams included in the East Region Championship.
Daemen is one of five teams to earn an at-large bid to the East Region Championship, and one of three ECC teams in the field. It marks just the fourth time that the ECC has produced as many as three NCAA tournament teams, and the first time since 2004.
Game times, tickets, and broadcast information for the East Region Championship will be announced later this week.
Winners of the eight regional tournaments will advance to the Elite Eight, which is slated for March 27-30 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.