Indianapolis – Three East Coast Conference men's basketball teams are heading to the Division II Men's Basketball Championship the NCAA announced late Sunday night. Daemen, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Molloy are all dancing, marking the first time since 2004 the ECC has sent as many as three teams to the tournament.
Molloy earned their first-ever NCAA berth with a dramatic comeback victory over Bridgeport earlier today to claim the program's first-ever ECC Championship and the automatic bid that comes with it. The Lions, who moved to 21-9 with today's win, are the lowest seeded team from the ECC, coming in at No. 8.
Top seed and host school, Saint Anselm of the NE10, awaits the Lions in their opening round matchup. This will only be the second meeting between the two programs, with Saint Anselm winning by a 102-79 margin in the 2015-16 season opener for both schools.
ECC Regular Season Champion, Daemen, is also in the bracket for the first time in program history. The Wildcats earn an at-large berth after finishing with a 24-5 record. Daemen is the ECC's highest seeded squad at No. 5.
No. 4 seed New Haven, another NE10 members, will be the Wildcats' opening round opponent. This will be the first-ever matchup between the two schools.
St. Thomas Aquinas moved their streak of consecutive NCAA Championship appearances to four with an at-large bid. This is the first time the Spartans enter the championship via the at-large as their three previous appearances came via winning ECC titles.
The Spartans, seeded No. 6, will take on No. 3 Le Moyne of the NE10 in a matchup of the past two East Region Champions (STAC - 2017, Le Moyne - 2018). This will be just the fourth meeting between the two programs. Le Moyne leads the series, 2-1, but the Spartans took the last matchup just a year ago by a score of 72-67.
The final matchup in the East Region bracket will feature a pair of conference champions as NE10 Champion, No. 2 Merrimack, will take on the champion of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, No. 7 Dominican.
The ECC teams in the bracket fared well against their fellow regional opponents this season. Daemen topped Saint Anselm in an exciting early January matchup, handing the Hawks one of their five losses on the season. St. Thomas Aquinas split a pair of games against NCAA Championship participants with a win over Dominican and a loss to New Haven.
Molloy did not have a game against a team included in the bracket this season.
The tournament gets under way on Saturday, March 16. The semifinals take place the following day, Sunday, March 17, and after a day off, the championship game will be on Tuesday, March 19.
To view the full 64 team bracket, click here.
2019 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball East Regional
Quarterfinals - Saturday, March 16
No. 1 Saint Anselm (22-5) vs. No. 8 Molloy (21-9)
No. 2 Merrimack (22-9) vs No. 7 Dominican (23-7)
No. 3 Le Moyne (18-9) vs. No. 6 St. Thomas Aquinas (23-6)
No. 4 New Haven (20-9) vs. No. 5 Daemen (24-5)
Semifinals – Sunday, March 17
No. 3-No. 6 winner vs. No. 2-No. 7 winner
No. 1-No. 8 winner vs. No. 4-No. 5 winner
Championship – Tuesday, March 19