Western men to appear in 12th NCAA Championships,
will play Christopher Newport University in first round

complete NCAA Division III Bracket (pdf)

DANBURY, CT (Feb. 27) — The Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team received an at-large bid into the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships and will play Christopher-Newport University, 23-4 in the first round at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA on Friday, March 2. Game time is slated for 5:30 pm against the Captains while the host Diplomats, 25-2 will face York College (PA), 18-10, at 7:30 pm. The winners will meet at Mayser Gymnasium on Saturday, March 3 at 7 pm.

The NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Committee announced the field of 62 teams for the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship on Monday.

The Western men's team, 20-6 are coming off a 75-74 loss to Rhode Island College in the Little East Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday, February 24. The Colonials and Anchormen join LEC Champions Eastern Connecticut State University, which earned an automatic berth, as at-large recipients to the Tournament.

Tickets will be available through Franklin and Marshall Athletics Department. Prices are $6 for general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens.

It will be WestConn's 12th appearance, all under 28th-year head coach Bob Campbell, in the NCAA Tournament. It will be making its second straight appearance and second showing since the 2004-05 season.

The Colonials are led by senior guard DaQuan Brooks (Atlanta, GA) who is averaging a LEC-leading 28.5 points per contest and has handed out 161 assists so far in his final season. He is second in the nation in scoring in Division III. He had 41 points and 12 assists in Friday's loss to the RIC.

Senior forward Gary Robinson (Torrington, CT) and junior guard Michael Jensen (Gales Ferry, CT) chips in identical 10.2 scoring averages to Western's 81.9 points a game. Ryan Pelletier (Wolcott, CT) is averaging 7.8 points in his third season.

Robinson leads the team with a 5.9 rebounding average while senior Mark Redding (Waterbury, CT) pulls down 5.0 caroms a contest.

CNU comes off its 14th conference title to make its 18th overall trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Captains earned the USA South Athletic Conference's automatic bid with the win, and have won 19 of their last 20 games. The lone loss came to then-#5 Virginia Wesleyan, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions.

USA South Player of the Year Conley Taylor was named the USA South Tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament squad by sophomore Tra Benefield and freshman Nik Biberaj. Taylor led the way with 27 points in the semifinals while Benefield and Biberaj had 19 points apiece in the championship game.

Forty-two conferences have been granted automatic qualification for the 2012 championship.  One independent team (Pool B) and 19 other at-large teams from the remaining independent teams and automatic-qualifying conferences who did not receive their conference automatic qualification (Pool C) were selected by using specific selection criteria approved by the Division III Championships Committee.

Two first-round games will be conducted Thursday, March 1, with the winners advancing to play Saturday, March 3, against teams that received first-round byes. 

Fourteen sites will host four teams for first- and second-round competition Friday-Saturday, March 2-3. Second-round winners will advance to one of four sectional-round sites March 9-10.

Winners of the four sectional games will advance to the finals March 16 and 17.

All games, except the finals, will be played on the campuses of competing institutions.

The finals will be conducted at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia.