Franklin Pierce, Southern NH, Saint Anselm gird for NCAAs at SNHU Fieldhouse
By JOHN HABIB New Hampshire Union Leader
Five Northeast-10 teams, including St. Anselm College, Southern New Hampshire University and Franklin Pierce University, were selected Sunday night to compete in the 2013 Division II NCAA East Regional Men's Basketball Tournament that starts on Saturday at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
In a bit of a surprise, Franklin Pierce (21-8) - not St. Anselm (23-5) - was given the No. 1 seed in the upcoming tournament. The Ravens, who finished fourth in the regular season standings and runner-up in the NE-10 tournament, will face Bloomfield (N.J.) College (17-2) in the first round. Bloomfield won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference with a 68-64 win against Philadelphia University.
The Hawks, the regular season NE-10 champion and the No. 2 seed in the regionals, drew the University of Bridgeport (21-9), the East Coast Conference champs who downed Dowling College 61-53 for the title.
Southern New Hampshire University (19-10), which defeated Franklin Pierce 85-74 for the NE-10 Tournament title, will meet Assumption College (20-7), which finished second in the NE-10 regular season but lost to College of St. Rose in the quarterfinals. Assumption, behind 26 points from Ronson Quick, a son of former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mike Quick, defeated SNHU 83-75 in overtime during the regular season at the Fieldhouse.
The final quarterfinal matchup pits New Haven (19-8) against Dominican (N.Y.) College (22-6). New Haven entered the NE-10 tournament winners of 18 of its last 20, but lost a first-round tournament game in overtime to the Penmen. Dominican lost to Philadelphia University 71-68 in the semifinals of the CACC tournament.
"It's going to be a quality tournament with eight outstanding teams," said SNHU coach Stan Spirou. "With our team mixed in with Bridgeport, New Haven and Franklin Pierce, I had a flashback of the old New England Collegiate Conference for a second. But basketball followers are going to see the cream of the crop in the East this weekend."
Chad Mason, associate athletic director of SNHU, said the tournament is slated to begin at noon with four games slated Saturday. The semifinal games are scheduled for Sunday and the finals will be held Tuesday, March 19.
Game times won't be announced until noon today.
Greg Royce, Director of Athletics Communications at SNHU, said Sunday that 1996 was the last time St. Anselm, SNHU and Franklin Pierce all qualified for the NCAA tournament.
In 1995, the Hawks were the No. 1 seed in the regionals and Royce said they were the host school of the tournament also played at Southern New Hampshire University.
Mason said the Fieldhouse would be able to accommodate the NCAA on a number of different levels. First and foremost, the Fieldhouse seats 1,800 fans.
"We have the capability of setting up hospitality rooms and a press work room," said Mason. "We can handle many media outlets at the Fieldhouse. We have plenty of parking spaces and we have access ramps for the handicap. We're excited to be part of the tournament and we look forward to working with the staff from St. Anselm College, which is serving as the host team."
Spirou said his team will face an experienced Assumption squad on Saturday.
"They're big and strong inside and they have the best post-up game of any team we've faced this year," said Spirou. "In terms of defense, we need to control the paint against a team which has a lot of seniors and experience."
For the moment, the Penmen are cherishing their first NE-10 tournament title. B.J. Cardarelli scored 23 points to lead SNHU past Franklin Pierce Saturday in Rindge.
FPU women in; Bakolas leads Bentley
In women's basketball Sunday night, the Franklin Pierce University team received an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional. The Ravens, who are coming off a semifinal appearance in last week's Northeast-10 Conference Championship, will be making their sixth consecutive appearance in the national tournament and 11th overall in program history. Franklin Pierce earned the No. 7 seed in the regional and will take on second-seeded and Northeast-10 Conference rival Stonehill in the first round on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Dana Center in Waltham, Mass.
Bentley University, who won the NE-10 tournament title on Sunday behind Christiana Bakolas of Manchester, earned the No. 1 seed in the regional and will serve as the host school for the event. Bakolas, who scored a career-high 17 points Sunday in Bentley's 68-59 title game win over Assumption, was named to the all-NE-10 tournament team.