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Transy men, women make NCAA Tournament field

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Transylvania’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships. Both teams will play on the road this year, beginning play on Friday.

The women, under first-year head coach Greg Todd, earned the first NCAA berth in school history, making the 63-team field as an at-large entry. The Pioneers missed getting an automatic berth when they lost 70-69 Saturday to Manchester in the finals of the Heartland Conference Tournament.

The Transy women will travel to DePauw on Friday to take on the host Tigers. Transy is 19-8, compared to 25-3 for DePauw, winners of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Denison (24-4) meets defending national champion Hope (24-3) in the other half of the bracket with the winners meeting on Saturday. Denison won the North Coast Athletic Conference’s berth while Hope represents the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Hope defeated Southern Maine in last year’s national championship game.

On the men’s side, coach Brian Lane’s Pioneers will go to Wooster for a rematch with the Scots, a team Transy defeated 91-88 in a second-round game last year at the Beck Center. Centre (23-4), winners of the SCAC tournament, will meet Capital (19-8) in the other half of the bracket with winners meeting on Saturday. Capital represents the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Transy’s men advanced to the Elite Eight in last year’s NCAA Tournament before falling to national runners-up Wittenberg. Transy is among 59 teams in the field after winning their second straight HCAC tourney on Saturday, defeating Defiance to earn an automatic NCAA bid. Virginia Wesleyan, an at-large selection this year, is the defending men’s champion after defeating Wittenberg last year.

The men’s field includes 37 automatic qualifying teams, four independents, and 18 at-large teams. The women’s field includes 39 automatic qualifiers, four independents, and 20 Poll C or at-large representatives.

The round of 16 will be played on campus sites on March 9-10 with the Final Four set for March 16-17. The men’s championship will be held in Salem, Va., with the women playing at Springfield (Mass.) College.