posted March 9, 2008

Basketball Teams Headed to Sectionals

Hope's basketball teams have their marching orders for the next round of NCAA Division III championship play. The Flying Dutchmen will host a four-team Sectional tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse on Friday and Saturday (March 14-15) while the Flying Dutch are headed to Brownwood, Texas for their Sectional.

Both Hope teams advanced through the second round of their respective tournament this past weekend and are now ready to compete as members of the Sweet Sixteen.  The Flying Dutchmen defeated Capital, Ohio in a second round game, 92-72, while the Flying Dutch survived an Ohio blizzard to record a pair of wins, 76-47 over Juniata, Pa. and 68-48 against Baldwin-Wallace, Ohio.

Joining the Flying Dutchmen in the men's Sectional will be Ohio Wesleyan (22-7), Wheaton, Ill. (21-7) and Whitworth, Wash. (21-6). Friday's doubleheader will pit Wheaton against Whitworth at 6 p.m., followed by Hope against Ohio Wesleyan (8 p.m.). The Sectional championship game will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. Ticket information will be announced on Monday. Ticket information can be found at -- http://www.hope.edu/pr/athletics/mbb/mbbhostncaa.html

The Flying Dutch will be playing their 13th straight NCAA tournament game on the road when they travel to the campus of Howard Payne College in the women's Sectional. On Friday the Flying Dutch (29-0) will play George Fox, Oregon (25-4) at 5 p.m. CT followed by host Howard Payne (also 29-0) playing  DeSales, Pa. (26-3). The Sectional championship game will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. CT. Ticket information can be found at -- http://www.hputx.edu/s/668/howardpayne.aspx?sid=668&gid=1&pgid=252&cid=4442&ecid=4442&crid=0&calpgid=871&calcid=1274

When the NCAA championship began there were 12 schools with both their men's and women's teams in the tournament.  Now there are only three -- Hope, Rochester, N.Y. and Amherst, Mass.

The Sectional winners will advance to the championship's final four weekend on March 21-22, the men to Salem, Va. and the women to Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse.

Men's Tournament Notes

° The Flying Dutchmen are making their 19th appearance in the Division III championships, the 21st alltime (College Division in 1950s). This will be the 4th time that Hope has hosted a Sectional.  The last was in 1998 at the college's Dow Center.  Hope went on to finish second nationally.  Other years in which Hope hosted a Sectional (Regional) were 1982 and 1983, both at the Holland Civic Center.   Hope's alltime record in the Division III championship is 23-20.  Hope qualified for the NCAA tournament as champion of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).  The Flying Dutchmen bring a ten-game winning streak into the Sectional.

° It has been 20 years since Hope played Ohio Wesleyan.  In 1988, playing in their one and only NCAA tournament, the Battling Bishops defeated the Flying Dutchmen in a double overtime thriller 110-107 in the championship game of the NCAA Regional tournament in Delaware, Ohio.  Ohio Wesleyan went on to win the national championship.  Ohio Wesleyan owns a 3-1 advantage in the alltime series with Hope which began in 1979.  Ohio Wesleyan finished second in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) regular season standings, but won the conference tournament to gain an automatic berth in the NCAA championship.  Ohio Wesleyan advanced to the Sectional with victories over Heidelberg, Ohio (83-62) and Centre, Ky. (82-65).

° The Whitworth Pirates will be travelling nearly 2,000 miles from Spokane, Wash. Whitworth qualified for the NCAA championship as champions of the Northwest Conference.  This is their third appearance in the tournament (2003 & 2007).  Whitworth advanced to the Sectional with a second round victory over Occidental, 52-51.  Whitworth has played Wheaton three times but would be a first-time opponent against Hope and Ohio Wesleyan.

° The Wheaton Thunder are appearing in the Division III championship for the fifth time (1995-96-99-2005-08).  Wheaton also played in the old College Division tournament four times (1957-57-59-60).  Hope and Wheaton met twice in College Division games, Wheaton winning in 1958 104-93 and Hope victorious in 1959 81-76.  Wheaton has a playing history against the other three Sectional teams.  Earlier this season Hope defeated Wheaton 83-53 in the MIAA/CCIW.  Wheaton gained the NCAA championship as an at-large team after finishing second in the Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) regular season standings.

Women's Tournament Notes

° The Flying Dutch are appearing in the NCAA Division III championships for the tenth time in school history and the sixth time since 2001. Their NCAA tournament record is 15-9, including 7-1 on their home court and 8-8 when played on the road. Hope is competing in the NCAA tournament as champion of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).  An MIAA team has been national champion three times -- Hope in 1990 and 2006 and Alma in 1992.  MIAA teams have a cumulative NCAA record of 42-27.

°  This year's team has the added incentive for wanting to advance through the tournament as the semi-finals and national championship game will be played at Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse the weekend of March 21-22. Winning a national title on their home court would not be something new to the Flying Dutch who won the 1990 Division III national crown at the Holland Civic Center with an amazing come-from-behind win over heavily favored St. John Fisher, N.Y., 65-63.

° Hope is playing its 13th straight NCAA tournament game on the road. Hope's  last home NCAA tournament game was a 2003 first round victory over Mount St. Joseph, Ohio. at the college's DowCenter.  Hope moved to the DeVos Fieldhouse in 2005, but has yet to host an NCAA game there. In 2006 the Flying Dutch played six consecutive games on the road en route to winning the national championship in Springfield, Mass.  Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse record is 43-1, including 18-0 this season.

° Hope's trip to Brownwood, Texas is 1,249 miles according to Mapquest.  George Fox will travel 2,058 miles while DeSales trip will cover 1,631 miles.

° Hope and Howard Payne are on 29-game winning streaks.  DeSales has won 15 in-a-row while George Fox is on a two-game streak since bowing in its conference tournament championship game.

° The George Fox Bruins are from Newberg, Oregon and are appearing in the NCAA championships for the fifth time since 2000 and in the Sweet Sixteen for the third time.  They are 7-4 in NCAA games. The Bruins were co-champions of the Northwest League and gained an at-large berth in the NCAA championships.  George Fox defeated Chapman, Calif. 71-55 in a first round round and topped conference rival Pudget Sound 72-66 in the second round.

° The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets are from Brownwood, Tex., a city of 8,000 residents located midway between Dallas and San Antonio.  The Yellow Jackets are appearing in the NCAA championship for a fourth consecutive year.  They are 3-3 in NCAA games. Howard Payne qualified for the NCAA tournament as champions of the American Southwest Conference.  The Bruins had a first round bye and then posted a home 79-64 victory over McMurry, Texas in the second round.

° The DeSales Bulldogs are from Center Valley, Pa. This is the Bulldogs' eighth appearance in the NCAA championship (1989-90-96-97-98-2000-03-08).  DeSales is 4-7 in those NCAA appearances.  DeSales qualified for the NCAA tournament as champions of the Freedom Conference.  The Bulldogs defeated Muhlenberg 56-48 in a first round game and topped Salem State 73-63 in the second round.