Outlook: The College of Wooster men's basketball team (23-5) is dancing in March for a NCAA Div. III record 17th consecutive season, as the Fighting Scots were among the 20 NCAA Div. III Pool C (at-large) bids awarded when the 64-team championship field was announced on Monday. Wooster was selected as one of 16 sites to host first-and second-round action on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. Wooster will play Baruch College (22-5) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, with Hanover College (21-6) and Wheaton College (Ill.) (19-8) playing in Friday's first game at 5:30 p.m. Tip time for Saturday's second-round game at Timken Gymnasium is at 7 p.m.
Media Coverage: All three games this weekend will be streamed live at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/wooster. Mike Breckenridge's call of Wooster's games can be heard all season long on WQKT 104.5 FM and online at https://wqkt.com. Fans can also follow the live stats links at Wooster's NCAA hosting page and check for periodic score updates on the men's basketball team's Twitter account @ScotsBasketball.
Ticket Information: The College of Wooster will be using the NCAA's minimum ticket prices, which are as follows: Adults - $10; Seniors, students, & children - $5; children under 2-years-old - free. Ticket sales will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, and Wooster will NOT be having any pre-sale dates.
Scots Extend Div. III Record, Among Nation's Elite Programs in Terms of NCAA Tourney Appearances: With its selection, Wooster's now made the NCAA Div. III Tournament for a record 17th consecutive year. Among all divisions, Wooster boasts the fifth-longest active streak of NCAA Tournament appearances, as the University of Kansas (29), Duke University (23), Michigan State University (21), and Gonzaga University (20) - all Div. I programs - are the lone NCAA men's programs with longer such streaks. Overall, the Scots are making their 28th appearance in the national tournament since the formation of Div. III, which is tied for second all-time. Longtime nemesis Wittenberg University is making its Div. III-best 29th tournament appearance, while the University of Scranton has 28 all-time trips to the Div. III Championships.
NCAA Tournament History: Wooster enters play this week with a 35-28 all-time record in the Div. III national tournament. The Scots have advanced as far as the national championship game (2011) and were national semifinalists in 2003 and 2007. Last year, Wooster topped Illinois Wesleyan University 72-68 in the first round before bowing out to John Carroll University 91-85. The Scots last made the sectional round in 2016, advancing all the way to the national quarterfinals. Wooster's 31-19 in the national tournament in the 2000s.
Wooster vs. its NCAA Pod: Wooster's won its only prior meeting with Baruch. That came at the Bahama House/Best Western Aku Tiki Shootout in 2010, with the Scots coming away with the 79-77 victory. Wooster and Hanover have met nine times previously, including back on Nov. 20 when the Scots traveled to Indiana and came back home with a 57-47 win in tow. Overall, the Scots are 6-3 against the Panthers. Wooster's also 4-0 all-time against Wheaton, with the most recent contest taking place at the 2013 Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic. The Scots topped the Thunder in that game 77-73.
Wooster, Kansas, and Duke Are Together Again: Wooster's 94-86 win over Oberlin College on Feb. 13 was significant for two reasons. First, the Scots won their North Coast Athletic Conference-leading 18th title. Second, it marked the program 20th win of the season, and Wooster's now logged an absolutely remarkable stretch of 23 consecutive 20-win seasons. That's tied with Duke University for the second-longest active streak in all of NCAA men's basketball. Only the University of Kansas has a longer such streak at 30 consecutive 20-win seasons.
Wooster is the Winningest NCAA Men's Basketball Program of the 2000s: Wooster's biggest claim to fame of late is that the program is the winningest among all NCAA men's teams in the 2000s, regardless of division. Wooster's won 82.8 percent of its games this century, with the Scots most recent win - 73-52 over DePauw University in the NCAC Tournament semifinals - marking the programs 500th this century. Wooster was the last remaining NCAA institution that's sponsored men's basketball every year since the start of the 1999-00 season to lose 100 games, with the Scots finally dropping No. 100 to Wabash College 62-60 on Dec. 8.
Moore's Magical Touch: Legendary head coach Steve Moore won his 750th game as the Scots' head coach with Wooster's 81-72 victory at Allegheny College on Jan. 23. Of the 11 NCAA men's basketball coaches with more wins than Moore, only six - Mike Krzyzewski, Herb Magee, Glenn Robinson, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith, and Adolph Rupp have won 750 or more games with a single program. In addition to being 12th all-time in NCAA men's wins, Moore's eighth when it comes to victories among active head coaches.
No One Does It Better Than Wooster: Senior Reece Dupler (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood) and junior Danyon Hempy (Waldo, Ohio/River Valley) were both named to the All-NCAC first-team, marking the 20th time in the 35-year history of the conference the Scots have had at least two first-team all-conference selections. That's five more times than the rest of the league combined. Senior Eric Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) joined the first-team duo as a second-team selection, marking the program's 16th consecutive year with at least three all-conference honorees. Additionally, Moore was voted by his peers as the NCAC Coach of the Year for the ninth time.
40 Times 10: Wooster's 68-55 win over Ohio Wesleyan University on Dec. 29 marked the first of 12 straight victories for the Scots before archrival Wittenberg University snapped the streak with an 84-74 win on Feb. 9. Along the way, Wooster's 105-67 win over Kenyon College on Jan. 30 marked the Scots' 10th straight win to give the program its 40th all-time 10-game winning streak. Twenty-seven of the 10-game winning streaks have come with Moore at the helm of the program.
Dupler, Hempy Among Most Prolific Scorers in Program History: Given how successful Wooster's been throughout its tradition-rich history in men's basketball, it's not often program history is made or matched. The latter's the case this year though, as for the fifth time in program history, the Scots have a pair of 1,200-point scorers on the active roster in Dupler and Hempy. Wooster greats Stan Aukamp and Erich Riebe, both 1992 alumni, were the first to have this impressive feat occur, and three years later, 1995 graduates Doug Cline and Scott Meech had over 1,200 points each when they hung up the Black and Gold jersey for the final time. During the 2001-02 season, Wooster had two players with different class years have over 1,200 points on the active roster in Bryan Nelson '03 and Antwyan Reynolds '02, and that was the case again during the 2006-07 season with James Cooper '08 and Tom Port '07.
Taking a Closer Look at Dupler: Wooster's exclusive 1,500-point club is now 11 members strong after Dupler surpassed the milestone during his career-high 33-point outing against Wittenberg in the championship game of the NCAC Tournament. The senior is averaging a career-high 17.3 points per game, and comes into the NCAA Tournament with 483 points - the 13th-most in a single season in program history. Should he score at least 17 more points this season, it'll be just the second time in program history Wooster's had a pair of student-athletes post 500-point seasons. Cooper and Port did just that during the 2006-07 season, during which Wooster advanced all the way to the national semifinals.
Time to Talk About Wooster's Current 500-Point Man: Hempy enters the NCAA Tournament with 573 points on the season, the seventh-most in program history, and the top mark since Ian Franks had 623 during the 2010-11 season, with Franks' haul also marking the last 600-point season in the program annals. Hempy lit up the scoreboard for a career-high 31 points against Sul Ross State University on Dec. 19, and matched that output in Wooster's 91-84 win over Wabash on Jan. 26, a game in which the Scots moved into a tie for first-place in the NCAC. Hempy had seven straight 20-point games at one juncture this season, and had 11 overall during the 18-game NCAC regular-season slate.
Following a Familiar Blueprint: It comes as no surprise to those who have followed Wooster's program closely over the years, that the Scots pride themselves on team defense and hustle. Freshman Khaylen Mahdi (Holyoke, Mass./MacDuffie School) has provided a big spark in that regard to the Scots' lineup. The rookie played a total of six minutes over three appearances in Wooster's first nine games of the season, but has since earned a spot in the regular rotation, playing at least 12 minutes in every game since. Mahdi's determination was one of the keys to last week Tuesday's win over Allegheny, as the rookie erupted for a career-high 16 points while continuing to cause havoc on the defensive end. Mahdi had two steals, and while he doesn't get credit on the stat sheet for this - he was directly responsible for several additional Allegheny turnovers.
Notable Wooster Alumni in Basketball: Wooster has several notable alumni currently in, or have held, prominent coaching and administrative roles in collegiate and professional basketball. L.W. St. John '06 served as the head men's basketball coach at Ohio State University from 1911-19, and was the Buckeyes' athletic director for over 30 years. Reggie Minton '63, an alternate for the 1964 United States Olympic Team, went on to have a decorated career as a coach and administrator, and he's currently the deputy executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and prior to that was the head coach at the United States Air Force Academy from 1984-00. Larry Shyatt '73 was an assistant coach for numerous programs, including the University of Florida when the Gators won the NCAA Div. I national championship in 2006 and 2007. Shyatt had two stints as head coach at the University of Wyoming and was the man in charge at Clemson University for a five-year run. Presently, he's an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. Recent alumni in prominent coaching roles include Lamont Paris '96 and Ryan Pedon '00. Paris was on the staff at Wisconsin for seven seasons, during which the Badgers made back-to-back appearances in the Final Four (2014-15), including the 2015 title game. Paris is currently in his second year as the head coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Pedon is currently in his second year as the lead assistant at Ohio State, which was ranked as high as eighth last season in the AP Top 25.