GUILFORD RECEIVES SIXTH NCAA DIVISION III MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYOFF BID
Quakers to host four-team bracket and play Sewanee March 1st at 7:30 p.m.)
GUILFORD’S INVITATION: Guilford College (21-7) received its sixth invitation to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Quakers earned one of 43 automatic bids to the 64-team field by winning the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament title Sunday, and will host a four-team regional tourney on Guilford’s campus.
Guilford plays Sewanee (22-6) Friday (3/1) at 7:30 p.m. The game will be preceded by Emory University (20-5) versus Wittenberg University (23-5) at 5:30 p.m. The winners of Friday’s contests meet Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the second round. All first- and second-games will be played in Guilford’s Ragan-Brown Field House.
TICKET INFORMATION: Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students of the participating schools (with ID). Children under two years old will be admitted free. Student and senior citizen (ages 65+) tickets are $4 and children under two are free. All ticket sales are cash only and will take place in the Ragan-Brown Field House lobby starting 90 minutes prior to the start of each game. Single-game NCAA Tournament tickets prices are $10 for adults, and $5 for students and seniors. It is a cash-only event.
LIVE VIDEO COVERAGE: All three games will be streamed live over the Internet. Fans can visit http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/basketball-men/d3 to see the full tournament bracket and find links to live video and statistics.
SERIES RESULTS: Friday’s meeting is the first between the Quakers and Sewanee in men’s basketball. Guilford participated in Sewanee’s Lon Varnell Classic in the 2009-10 season, but the two squads did not meet. Sewanee secured its first Southern Athletic Championship (SAA) with a 62-59 win at Centre College in the SAA Tournament championship Sunday. The Tigers, seeded third in the tournament, earned their first SAA crown. The University of the South earned it’s sixth conference title and fifth trip to the NCAA Championships. Sewanee also went in 1975, 1976, 1997 and 1998.
The Tigers (22-6) got a game-high 23 points and five assists from sophomore guard Luke Smith, who was tabbed the SAA Tourney MVP. Senior Cam Caldwell (8 points, 5 rebounds) was also selected to the all-tournament team. For the season, Smith led Sewanee in scoring (20.5 ppg.) and assists (3.8 apg.). The Tigers get balanced scoring to complement Smith. Hunter Buescher (12.0 ppg.), Caldwell (11.9) and Adrian Thomas (10.0) all net double digits for Sewanee.
Guilford has never played Wittenberg University in the schools’ recorded history. Wittenberg captured its second straight North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament crown with a 79-75 victory over the College of Wooster Saturday afternoon. The Tigers are making their 36th NCAA postseason appearance in all, and their 29th NCAA Tournament appearance, the most in NCAA Division III men’s hoops history.
Emory University is a familiar foe for the Quakers. The teams have met nine teams with the Eagles holding a 7-2 edge in the all-time series. Guilford has lost six straight contests to Emory. Guilford’s wins were in 2007-08 (83-67 in Atlanta) and the following year in Greensboro (70-49). Emory is a member of the University Athletic Association (UAA), which is the only conference in NCAA basketball with its automatic bid decided on the outcome of regular-season play. The Eagles secured the UAA crown after defeating the University of Rochester, 92-82, in Atlanta February 23.
GUILFORD VS. 2019 NCAA PLAYOFF FIELD: The Quakers faced only one other NCAA playoff team this winter, ODAC-rival Randolph-Macon. Guilford prevailed, 64-63, in the regular-season meeting in Ragan-Brown Field House January 5. The Quakers defeated the Yellow Jackets, 70-59, in Sunday’s ODAC Tournament final in the Salem (Va.) Civic Center.
GUILFORD IN NCAA PLAYOFFS: The Quakers are making their sixth NCAA playoff appearance and their first since 2017. Guilford owns a 14-5 record in NCAA Tournament games. In 2009 and 2010, the Quakers reached the national semifinals.
Before joining NCAA Division III in 1991, Guilford competed in the NAIA and posted an 8-8 mark in seven national tournament appearances. Led by future NBA players M.L. Carr ’73, World B. Free ’76 and Greg Jackson ’74, the Quakers won the 1973 NAIA men’s basketball title.
THE 2019 NCAA PLAYOFFS: Forty-three conferences have been granted automatic qualification for the 2017 championship, while 21 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. There is one Pool B team, Gwynedd Mercy University, from a league without an automatic qualifier.
Sixteen sites will host four teams for first and second-round competition Friday-Saturday, March 1-2. Second-round winners will advance to one of four sectional-round sites the following weekend—March 8 and 9. Winners of the four sectional games will advance to the semifinals and finals March 15 and 16. All games, except the semifinals and finals, will be played on the campuses of competing institutions. The semifinals and finals will be conducted for the first time at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
THE BIGGER THEY ARE: Guilford is 4-0 against nationally ranked opponents this season. The Quakers dealt the University of Lynchburg, ranked 22nd by D3hoops.com, an 82-78 loss in Greensboro December 5. The Hornets won their next 10 straight games before the Quakers came to Lynchburg and score an 88-82 win over the hosts, ranked 14th at the time. Guilford also took down 15th-ranked Randolph-Macon January 5 in Greensboro, 64-63. The Yellow Jackets were previously unbeaten in league play. To earn the automatic bid to the NCAAs, the Quakers bested #5 Randolph-Macon, 70-59, in the ODAC title game.
GUILFORD LEADERS: Coach Tom Palombo’s Quakers enter the tournament having won four of their last five games, including three straight in the ODAC Tournament to win their first league title since 2017. Guilford’s 21 wins rank 15th the program’s 114-year history. Only five other Quakers’ teams in the school’s Division III era (since 1991-92) have reached 20 wins. Most recently the 2016-17 team finished with a 24-6 overall record.
Palombo, who took Defiance College to the NCAA Division III men’s basketball playoffs in 1999 and 2001, is making his ninth NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearance. He is in his 16th year at Guilford and a record-tying four-time winner of the Bob Johnson ODAC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year Award. The 1989 Virginia Wesleyan College graduate won his 500th career basketball game as a men’s and women’s coach, in January, 2017.
Guilford’s Marcus Curry, Kyler Gregory and Carson Long each received All-ODAC recognition and have led the Quakers throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
Curry earned first-team honors for the second straight year. A 6-5, 193-pound senior, he averages a team-best 15.4 points per game and collects 7.1 rebounds per contest. In Guilford’s January 16 home win over Bridgewater, Curry became the 34th Guilford men’s basketball student-athlete to score 1,000 points in his college career. The forward scored 116 points as a freshman. On the final day of the regular season, Curry eclipsed the century mark in a Quaker uniform and enters Friday’s game with 1,051 points as a Quaker, which ranks 29th in Guilford history. He needs 40 points to pass Jordan Snipes ’07 for 27th place on the school’s career scoring list. Including his rookie scoring at Bridgewater, Curry has 1,167 career points.
Gregory, a 6-6, 217-pound junior, averages 12.3 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. He ranks among ODAC leaders in rebounds per game (7th), made free throws (85, 8th), and field-goal percentage (.511, 13th). Gregory’s outstanding interior play continued in the ODAC Tournament. The junior, who was selected the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, delivered 12 points and 11 rebounds for his team-leading seventh double-double of the season in the final. In Guilford’s three ODAC Tourney games, he averaged 14.3 points and 11.6 boards.
Long, a 6-4, 215-pound senior, was named an All-ODAC selection for the third consecutive season and became one of only four Quakers to accomplish the feat. He averages 13.1 points per game and enters Friday’s NCAA Tourney game’s game with 1,393 point, ranked 18th among Guilford’s career scoring leaders. He is six points shy of passing former NCAA Division III Player of the Year and current Ferrum College head men’s basketball coach Tyler Sanborn ’10 for 17th place on the Quakers’ career scoring list.
Long’s 185 3-pointers stand fifth in school history. His 78 blocks are tied for sixth in Quakers’ lore. Long is the first Quaker to attain top-20 all-time Guilford status in four categories: scoring, rebounding, blocks, and steals.