PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The college basketball season will continue for Swarthmore College as the Garnet are headed to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
They will play New England College in the first round on Friday in Middletown, Connecticut.
Swarthmore, 22-5, earned an at-large berth after being defeated in the Centennial Conference Championship Game on Saturday by Johns Hopkins, 61-57.
“It was tough losing on Saturday but getting to the NCAA Tournament now, it’s a blank slate and we’re excited about the opportunity,” Swarthmore head coach Landry Kosmalski tells KYW Newsradio.
This will be the second tourney appearance in program history for the Garnet. The first came last season when Swarthmore beat the College of Staten Island in the first round before losing to Christopher Newport in the second. Kosmalski talks about what’s led to this success for his group.
“I think we just have the kind of guys that do well in our system and in our culture,” he says. “Which just means I think they’re very tough, very unselfish, very smart and they’re all playing unselfishly together and tough together defensively. I think that adds up to a good body of work.”
Swarthmore throws a balanced attack at opponents with six players averaging at least eight points a game. Junior guard Cam Wiley leads the way, averaging 15.8 ppg. Senior guard Zack Yonda chips in 13.4 points a night. As a team, the Garnet shoot 48% from the field while holding opponents to 40% shooting.
Kosmalski on one of the first things to jump out at him about 21-6 New England College, champions of the North Atlantic Conference.
“I would say they are, defensively, very disruptive,” he says. “They force 24 turnovers a game. So I think that’s going to be the key to our prep is just making sure that we are ready to attack their pressure.”
The winner of this Swarthmore/New England College match-up will play the winner of the host school Wesleyan and Southern Vermont in the second round on Saturday.