By Matt Leon
RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) — Once again, the Cabrini Cavaliers have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The #5 team in the country is the top seed in the Mid-Atlantic region, and they will start things off at home on Friday night against Castleton State.
The Cavaliers bring a 26-1 record into the tournament, and they are champions of the Colonial States Athletic Conference. And while this is their third straight trip to “the dance” (they advanced to the Sweet 16 last season), head coach Marcus Kahn says it never gets old when your name is unveiled on selection day.
“We knew we got in with the automatic bid from our conference tournament, but I think that excitement of seeing your name in a bracket, finally getting to see who you’re going to face, it’s going to be a new team, usually somebody you’re not too familiar with, which is the case this year. So it’s exciting,” he says.
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Coach Marcus Kahn in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Castleton State (19-9) hails from Vermont, and they are the champions of the North Atlantic Conference.
Kahn says that since they are a team they are not familiar with, they will try their best to give the squad a comfort level about them.
“We try to make it as familiar as we can. We’ve been using other players in our conference to say, ‘Hey #21 from Castleton is like so-and-so in our league, so we’ve got to guard them that way.’ ”
Kahn talks about what his team needs to do to have success as long as they are still standing in the tournament:
“Defensively, we have to rebound the ball, which allows us to get out in transition where we’ve had success all year. And then we really have to execute a little bit better offensively then what we have been. We stand around and watch (senior guard) Cory (Lemons) play a lot rather than keep moving. Teams are obviously going to focus on Cory. We’ve just got to execute a little bit better offensively, make some shots, rebound the ball and finish games. Get the last stop or two of the game and I think we’ll be alright.”
Lemons, 5’10”, has had a wonderful season. He leads the Cavaliers in scoring (17.6 ppg), assists (177), and steals (49), and is second on the squad in rebounding (6.4 a game).
Friday night could be a track meet, as Cabrini loves to get up and down the floor — they average 85 points per game. And it would appear that will not bother Castleton State, seeing as how they pour in 93 per contest — and allow 82 — averaging nearly 14 made three-pointers a night.
Cabrini and Castleton State will tip off at 7:30pm, at Nerney Field House in Radnor. Prior to this game, Hobart College will take on Ohio Wesleyan University in another opening round match-up.
The two winners will then meet in the second round on Saturday night, on Cabrini’s home floor.