Making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Final Four, No. 3 MIT will take on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the national semifinals on Friday, March 16 at 8 p.m. With a win, the Engineers would advance to the NCAA championship game on Saturday, March 17, at 7 p.m., to face the winner of Friday’s first semifinal between Cabrini College and Illinois Wesleyan University. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) will serve as the host for the Final Four and all three games will be played at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.
The NCAA will offer live streaming video and live statistics for all three games this weekend. To access both the video stream and live statistics, fans should visit http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2012-03-03/winter-championship-multimedia.
For the Institute community, the MIT Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) will be conducting a watch party for Friday night’s semifinal game in the lobby of the Zesiger Center (Building W-35). Fans can come to the Zesiger lobby beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday for snacks and light refreshments, provided by DAPER and the MIT Alumni Association, and stay to cheer on the Engineers along with the rest of the MIT community. If MIT advances to Saturday’s NCAA championship, a second viewing party will be held in the Zesiger Center on Saturday, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Engineers' opponent, Wisconsin-Whitewater, is led by senior forward Chris David (Madison, Wis.), who averages 22.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and was recently named the Division III West Regional Player of the Year. The Warhawks (27-4), ranked No. 8 in the D3Hoops Top 25, average 72.0 points per game and are the second most efficient shooting team in the nation, connecting at a rate of 51.4 percent from the field. UW-Whitewater advanced to the national semifinals with wins over Northwestern (Minn.), St. Thomas, Wheaton (Ill.) and Virginia Wesleyan.
The path here
MIT punched its ticket to Salem with a 69-54 win over Franklin & Marshall College in the sectional final last Saturday night; defeated the College of Staten Island, 83-67, in the third round; and advanced through to the sectionals by beating Skidmore College, 62-55, and Farmingdale State University, 83-63, in the opening two rounds of the national tournament.
The Engineers held Franklin & Marshall to its lowest output of the season while making nine-of-16 shots from behind the arc to knock off the host Diplomats. Against Staten Island, junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) led all scorers with 29 points while senior Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, W.Va.) hit seven-of-10 three’s en route to 25 points.
Senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) exploded for 37 points and MIT never trailed during its blowout win over Farmingdale State to advance to the Sweet 16. In the opening round against Skidmore, Kates came up two assists shy of a triple-double, finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
The other Final Four matchup
The No. 5 ranked Cabrini College Cavaliers have the most wins of any team in Division III at 30-1 and ride a 21-game winning streak into the Final Four. Senior Cory Lemons (Wilmington, Del.) leads Cabrini in scoring at 17.7 points per game and is sixth in the NCAA in assists with 6.5 a contest. Cabrini defeated a pair of New England opponents during its run to the semifinals, Castleton State (104-87) and Eastern Connecticut State (72-65).
The lone unranked team in the Final Four, Illinois Wesley (23-7) is making its fifth appearance in the national semifinals. The Titans captured the NCAA championship in 1997 and have made 21 appearances in the Division III tournament in the program’s 29 years of NCAA affiliation. Jordan Zimmer (Delavan, Ill.) and Victor Davis (Galesburg, Ill.) score in double figures for the Illinois Wesleyan, averaging 15.5 and 10.8 points per game, respectively.
Semifinals – Friday, March 16
6 p.m. – Cabrini College (30-1) vs. Illinois Wesleyan University (23-7)
8 p.m. – MIT (29-1) vs. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (27-4)
Championship – Saturday, March 17
7 p.m. – Semifinal Winners