PREVIEW: MIT Takes on Eastern Conn. in NCAA First Round

PREVIEW: MIT Takes on Eastern Conn. in NCAA First Round

Cambridge, Mass. (March 2) -- The No. 21 ranked MIT men's basketball team opens NCAA Tournament play on Friday, March 3 as the Engineers face Eastern Connecticut State University in the first round. The game, which is slated for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff, will take place at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. 

The Engineers enter the weekend at 21-6 overall and appear in the National Top 25 for the first time this season after receiving votes in the previous three polls. MIT claimed the program's fifth NEWMAC Championship and seventh NCAA Tournament berth with a 67-62 win over No. 1 nationally-ranked Babson College to avenge two earlier regular-season losses to the Beavers. Senior captain Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) was named as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for his performance.

Butala earned NEWMAC Second Team All-Conference honors, as announced earlier this week. Sophomore guard AJ Jurko (Weston, Fla.) was honored as the league's Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a First Team All-Conference selection and a member of the NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship Team. Leading the offense is sophomore guard Bradley Jomard (Paris, France), who is currently averaging 15.5 points per contest while shooting 43.2 percent from the field. Jomard is also the only Engineer this season to earn both Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors. 

Friday's matchup is the first between the Engineers and the Warriors as MIT has not faced any of the other three teams in its pod. Eastern Connecticut, a member of the Little East Conference, comes into the tournament at 20-8 overall after a thrilling 72-70 win over Keene State in the Little East Championship Game last Saturday. The team is led offensively by Tarchee Brown at 18.6 points per game as the Warriors average over 81 points per game as a team.

MIT is under the direction of 22nd-year head coach Larry Anderson, who enters the NCAA Tournament with a career record of 350-237 and is the winningest coach in program history. Eastern Connecticut is coached by Bill Geitner, who is in his 15th season and is 248-166 for his career entering the NCAA's. 

The Engineers are 6-6 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including a run to the Final Four in 2012. MIT returns to the NCAA's for the first time since the 2013-14 season, while Eastern Connecticut appears in the program's seventh NCAA Tournament and fourth in the last six seasons.

Below is the complete schedule for the games taking place at Susquehanna University, along with live stats and video links.

Live Stats
Live Video

Complete First/Second Round Schedule
Friday, March 3rd

MIT vs. Eastern Connecticut - 5:30 p.m.
Medaille vs. Susquehanna - 7:30 p.m. 

Saturday, March 4th
MIT/Eastern Connecticut winner vs. Medaille/Susquehanna winner - 7 p.m.

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