Stonehill seeks a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Jack Cole was a freshman. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Skyhawks have clinched first postseason trip since 2012, also seek NCAA Tournament return
EASTON, Mass. (February 19, 2015) – Stonehill College, which clinched a spot in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Tournament, is ranked No. 8 in the first NCAA Division II Men's Basketball East Regional rankings released by the national tournament committee on Wednesday.
Stonehill (17-8, 12-7 NE-10) has won of eight of its last ten after a 65-63 overtime win at Franklin Pierce University last night to clinch its first Northeast-10 Tournament appearance since winning the tournament title in 2012. The Skyhawks are ranked eighth in the first East Regional poll, which features seven NE-10 members in the top ten, and is used to determine NCAA Tournament bids. Each of the three tournament champions in the East Region receives automatic bids to the NCAAs, with five additional at large bids. The 2014 NCAA Tournament regional rounds will run March 14 through 17 at campus sites to be announced when the Division II's field of 64 is released on Sunday, March 8.
Three Northeast-10 programs lead the regional rankings with top-ranked Southern Connecticut State University (21-5, 15-3 NE-10), the reigning regional champions, leading way, followed by No. 2-ranked Southern New Hampshire University (18-6, 15-4 NE-10) and then third-ranked Saint Anselm College (16-7, 13-6 NE-10). The University of Bridgeport (18-6, 13-3 ECC) of the East Coast Conference breaks up the NE-10 run, while American International College (19-5, 14-4 NE-10) rounds out the top five and then Saint Michael's College (16-8, 12-7 NE-10) is ranked sixth. Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference member University of the Sciences (20-4, 14-2 CACC) is ranked seventh, with Stonehill eighth, Holy Family University (19-7, 13-4 CACC) ninth and then Bentley University (15-10, 10-9 NE-10) rounding out the top ten.
Stonehill has wins over two teams ahead of the Skyhawks in the regional rankings, including a 75-62 triumph over top-ranked Southern Connecticut State on January 21. The Skyhawks are ranked No. 10 in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll. Stonehill, having sewn up its 29th NE-10 Tournament berth, seeks a 13th NCAA Tournament bid over the next two weeks. The Skyhawks last NCAA bid came after winning the NE-10 Tournament in 2012 before capturing the East Regional Championship on their way to an appearance in the NCAA National Semifinals at the Elite Eight.
Stonehill is back in action on Saturday night when it hosts rival Bentley for a key Northeast-10 and East Regional clash on Senior Night on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Prior to tipoff, Stonehill will recognize senior captain Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence), the lone senior and player with NE-10 and NCAA postseason experience on the team, who became the program's latest 1,000-point scorer in last night's win at Franklin Pierce.
Please note the time change on Saturday's game from its original 3:30 p.m., start time.