This Week's Outlook: The College of Wooster (18-7, 15-3 North Coast Athletic Conference) plays host to Wabash College (11-14, 7-11 NCAC) in the quarterfinal round of the 2017 NCAC Tournament. The winner advances to Friday's semifinal round, which will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed. Wooster is making its 33rd appearance in the NCAC Tournament, and only Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan University have appeared in every single NCAC Tournament since the league was founded.
Media Coverage: Wooster's quarterfinal game will be streamed live at http://portal.stretchinternet.com/wooster and will be produced by MCTV. Wooster's game can also be heard on WKVX 960 AM or online at http://wqkt.com. Fans can also follow the men's basketball team's Twitter account @ScotsBasketball for periodic score updates.
Ticket Information: Ticket prices for the NCAC Tournament are set by the conference office. NCAC lifetime passes are honored with free admission to all NCAC championship events. Adult tickets are $7, children (18 and under), NCAC guest pass, and student (non-NCAC institution ID) tickets are $5, and all Wooster and Wabash students are admitted free with a valid ID from their respective institutions. Ticket sales will begin at 5:30 p.m.
NCAC Tournament History: Wooster has won the NCAC Tournament a league-best 15 times, and in fact, that total is more than two-times greater than Wittenberg University's six league tournament crowns. Wooster is 66-17 all-time in the NCAC Tournament, including a remarkable 52-9 at home, and 27-5 in the quarterfinal round with a current streak of 20 straight quarterfinal wins. The Fighting Scots are the No. 2 seed for this week's tournament, and are 20-5 all-time when playing as that seed. This year marks the 20th straight season Wooster's been either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
Last Week's Recap: Wooster capped the regular season with a 99-71 win over archrival Wittenberg on Saturday, marking the 11th time in the last 12 meetings one of college basketball's best small college rivalries has gone the Scots' way. Wooster now leads the all-time series between the two teams 59-55. Wooster opened the second half with a 15-0 run to run an eight-point halftime lead into a 23-point advantage. Sophomore Mitch Balser (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) scored a season-high 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting, including a 3-for-4 night from beyond the arc. On Wednesday' Wooster nearly had as many offensive rebounds (13) as Kenyon College had rebounds (16) at halftime during the Fighting Scots' 87-62 win over the Lords. For the game, sophomore Eric Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) matched Wooster's season-high with 17 rebounds, a total that was previously turned in by junior Alex Baptiste (Allonnes, France/Wasatch Academy (Utah) during the Whitman College game back on Dec. 18. First-year Danyon Hempy (Waldo, Ohio/River Valley) led five Scots in double figures with a game-high 20 points, marking his third 20-point game.
On To the Finals: Junior Spencer Williams' (Warrensville Hts., Ohio/Orange) go-ahead old-fashioned three-point play from Wooster's double-overtime win at DePauw University on Jan. 28 won the week two fan vote in the GEICO Play of the Year competition. Williams will be one of five plays in the finals for fans to vote on between March 6-13. The winning play will be unveiled on CBS' "Best of College Basketball" show on March 25 at noon.
Fanelly Rises Up: Senior Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, Ohio/Green) moved into seventh on the program's all-time scoring list during Saturday's win over Wittenberg. He now has 1,595 points for his career, a total 19th in NCAC history. This season, Fanelly currently ranks second in the NCAC at 18.1 points per game, second with a 61.4 (159-for-259) field goal percentage, fourth with a 79.1 (110-for-139) free throw percentage, fourth with 1.6 steals per game, and fifth with 3.2 assists per game. Additionally, Fanelly has 11 20-point games on the season, and had five straight between Jan. 28 and Feb. 11.
Hempy Lights it Up: Hempy enters this week tops in the conference with a 47.8 3-point percentage (33-for-69), and in fact, ranks eighth with a 51.0 field goal percentage (100-for-196), making Wooster the only team in the league with three of the top 10 student-athletes in terms of field goal percentage. Hempy has upped his scoring average to 11.1 points per game, a mark 20th in the NCAC, and good for third in the league among freshmen.
Mr. Consistent: Williams, Wooster's second-leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, continues to find the bottom of the basket in a multitude of ways this season. The junior guard has been in double figures in 22 of Wooster's 25 games to date, and had a string of 12 straight games with 10 or more points from Dec. 21 to Feb. 4, and had three 20-point games during that span.
Thievery at Timken: A lot of pick-pocketing has occurred at Timken Gymnasium of late, and much of that can be attributed to the outstanding play of sophomore Reece Dupler (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood). Dupler recorded four steals against Wittenberg on Saturday, marking the third time this season the sophomore's had at least that many in a game. He logged five in Wooster's win against Allegheny College on Feb. 8, including one on each of the Gators' first three possessions of the game. Dupler is averaging three steals per night over Wooster's last five home games. Offensively, Dupler's developed into a consistent scorer of late with 19, 18, and 18 points respectively over Wooster's last three games of the regular season.
Rebounding Machine: Wooster ranks first in the NCAC in rebounding at 41.2 per game, while the Scots' opposition averages the third-fewest rebounds in the league at 32.6, and a lot of that is attributed to Bulic's stellar play. The sophomore forward recorded a career-high 17 rebounds against Kenyon last week Wednesday and now has five double-digit rebounding games on the year. Bulic is averaging 9.3 rebounds per night over his last nine games.
Rim Protectors: Baptiste and Bulic give the Scots a lot of depth on the interior defensively. In fact, the duo rank among the top rim protectors in the league as Baptiste leads the conference in blocked shots per game at 1.2, and Bulic isn't far behind, sitting in a tie for fourth at 0.9. In fact, the two combined average 2.1 blocks per game, and no other duo from the same team in the conference averages above 2.0 blocks per night combined.
Home Consistency: Wooster enters the quarterfinal round with a six-game win streak at home. During this stretch, the Scots are averaging 98.7 points per game, and have scored at least 95 points in each of their last six home wins.
Streaking Under Moore: Wooster picked up its 10th straight win on Feb. 8 against Allegheny, marking the 26th time the Scots have strung together a double-digit win streak in Steve Moore's 30 years as the head coach. In fact, Wooster has at least one 10-game win streak in 18 of the last 20 years.
Under 55: Wooster held Wittenberg (55), Kenyon (46), and Wabash (54) to 55 or fewer points during its 10-game win streak. That stretch marked the first time Wooster's held three consecutive opponents to 55 or fewer points since the early stages of the 2013-14 season. Wooster ramped up the defensive intensity in its most recent outing, keeping Allegheny under 50 points (49), marking the second time this season holding a foe to under 50.