Landry Kosmalski (above) and Swarthmore get to play their first-ever NCAA Tournament game at home this Friday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The Division III NCAA Tournament Selection Show brought good news for several area programs.
Swarthmore and Neumann University are each hosting first and second-round games for the first times in school history -- the Garnet doing so in their first-ever March Madness appearance, Neumann in its second-ever trip. And Cabrini, which hadn’t been dancing since 2014, was picked as an at-large selection after a heartbreaking loss in the CSAC playoffs.
Also in the tournament from the eastern part of the Keystone State are a pair of Landmark Conference schools, league champ Scranton (21-6) and Susquehanna (21-5), which was selected for an at-large bid; Lycoming (23-4), the MAC Commonwealth champ, makes it six.
For Swarthmore (22-5), the ability to host the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament game less than a week after capturing the Centennial Conference championship inside Tarble Pavilion is the continuation of what’s been a dream season for the Garnet.
“I was probably more surprised than most, I didn’t really look at the websites to see where we we could be, so I had no idea whether we would be sent to Texas or whether we were going to host,” fifth-year head coach Landry Kosmalski said. “Obviously thrilled for the community and the fans we had out last week, I’m sure they’ll come out again.”
Kosmalski and his staff are now furiously planning for their Friday-night game against the College of Staten Island. The Dolphins (21-6) went a perfect 16-0 in the CUNYAC, beating CCNY in the league final to earn a bid. Also playing in Swat’s pod are the No. 3 team in the nation, Christopher Newport (25-2) taking on Morrisville State (22-6).
Neumann (25-2) gets rewarded for the the second bid in three years with a game against the Commonwealth Coast Conference champions, Nichols (23-5). Salisbury (20-7) or Endicott (22-6) -- who lost to Nichols in the CCC championship but were rewarded with an at-large selection -- awaits the winner.
Perhaps the happiest team in the area on Monday is Cabrini, which watched dismayed as Gwynedd-Mercy’s Arron Goodman knocked in a game-winning 3-pointer in the CSAC semifinals last week only to find out its season wasn’t over.
Cabrini coach Tim McDonald began to get a little more optimistic about his team’s chances after a number of conference championship games went to the favorites over the weekend, and D3Hoops.com projected the Cavaliers to be on the right side of the bubble on their selection show Sunday.
And after having to wait through the first half of the show, the Cavaliers saw their name appear.
“Not the way that we had planned on getting there, but happy to be there at the end,” McDonald said. “When we saw the first half of the bracket go up and didn’t hear us, I was starting to get worried there.”
The Cavaliers (19-7) will travel up to Middlebury (Vt.), where first they’ll have to get past Lycoming (23-4) if they hope to face either Middlebury (24-3) or Farmingdale State (20-7).
More information coming soon