Men’s Basketball Heads to Trinity for NESCAC Quarterfinals

2020 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship.
2020 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship.

The fifth-seeded Middlebury men's basketball team heads to fourth-seeded Trinity on Saturday for a NESCAC Quarterfinal matchup at 3:00 p.m. The Panthers are making 16th appearance in the tournament and are seeking their fifth conference crown.

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The Tufts Jumbos are the No. 1 seed in the 2020 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship for the second time in program history. The NESCAC Quarterfinals are set for Saturday, February 22 on the campus of the higher seed. The semifinals will take place on February 29 with the championship game scheduled for March 1, with all three games being played on the campus of the highest remaining seed.

Tufts (18-6) and Colby (21-2) finished with identical conference records of 8-2. In head-to-head competition, Tufts defeated Colby, 80-67, on February 1 to earn the No. 1 seed. The Jumbos will host No. 8 Hamilton (16-8, 4-6 NESCAC), the 2019 NESCAC Runner-Up, in the quarterfinals. Hamilton and Bates finished the year with identical 4-6 marks in NESCAC play. The Bobcats defeated the Continentals, 98-91, on January 18 to earn the No. 7 seed. Hamilton is in the NESCAC Tournament for the fourth year in a row and is the No. 8 seed for the second time in three years. Hamilton defeated Tufts, 89-84, in last year's semifinal round to take a 2-1 edge over the Jumbos in the NESCAC Tournament series. This season, Tufts posted a 78-72 victory over the Continentals on January 17.

The Colby Mules are the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Championship for the first time since 2011 and return to the tournament for the second straight season. Colby will host a quarterfinal for the first time since 2010 when it faces No. 7 Bates (12-12, 4-6 NESCAC). The Bobcats are in the NESCAC Championship field for the first time since 2017 and are the No. 7 seed for the first time since 2013. Colby defeated Bates, 101-84, on January 31 this season, and the two teams have never met in the NESCAC Championship.

Trinity (16-8), Middlebury (20-4), and Williams (13-11) all finished with matching NESCAC records of 6-4. In head-to-head competition against each other, Trinity went 2-0, Middlebury was 1-1, and Williams went 0-2. As a result, Trinity is the No. 4 seed, Middlebury is the No. 5 seed, and Williams is the No. 6 seed. That sets up a quarterfinal matchup between No. 3 Amherst (17-7, 7-3 NESCAC) and No. 6 Williams, two teams that have played in every NESCAC Championship. Amherst, the defending NESCAC Champion, is the No. 3 seed and is hosting a quarterfinal for the fifth straight year. Williams is the No. 6 seed for the first time since 2017. The quarterfinal contest marks the 11th meeting between the two teams in the NESCAC postseason series. Amherst owns a 6-4 advantage and won, 74-69, in the NESCAC Semifinals last year. Williams earned a pair of wins over Amherst this season. The Ephs won, 72-69, on January 11 during the opening weekend of conference play and earned a two-point victory, 62-60, on January 22 in a non-conference contest.

No. 4 Trinity will host No. 5 Middlebury in the last quarterfinal matchup. The Bantams, who will host a quarterfinal for the first time since 2016 when they were the No. 1 seed, have qualified for the tournament for the seventh year in a row. The last time Trinity was a No. 4 seed was following the 2011 campaign. The Bantams enter the tournament having won six of their last eight games. Middlebury is in the tournament field for the fifth consecutive year and is the No. 5 seed for the second time in three years. Middlebury improved to 3-1 in the NESCAC Championship series against the Bantams with a 76-60 win in the 2017 semifinals. This season, Trinity registered an 82-76 win over Middlebury on January 31.

Results for the NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.

Quarterfinals - Saturday, February 22
at Higher Seeds
No. 8 Hamilton at No. 1 Tufts - 4:00 p.m.
No. 7 Bates at No. 2 Colby - 3:00 p.m.
No. 6 Williams at No. 3 Amherst - 4:00 p.m.
No. 5 Middlebury at No. 4 Trinity - 3:00 p.m.

Semifinals - Saturday, February 29
at Highest Remaining Seed
Lowest Remaining Seed vs. Highest Remaining Seed - 2 p.m.
Other Quarterfinal Winners - 4 p.m.

Championship - Sunday, March 1
at Semifinal Host
Semifinal winners - 12:00 p.m.