The Catholic men's and Marymount women's basketball teams each received first-round byes in their respective NCAA Division III basketball tournaments, it was announced last night.
Catholic will host the winner of Montclair State (21-5) and Elizabethtown (18-8) in a second-round game on Saturday at either 7 or 7:30 p.m.
Marymount (22-6) will host the winner of Gwynedd-Mercy (19-8) and Rutgers-Camden (21-6) in a second-round game that also tentatively is scheduled for Saturday night.
Catholic (24-4) received one of seven at-large bids to the 48-team tournament. The Cardinals are the only one of 400 Division III teams to have made six consecutive tournament appearances.
They had to worry about their inclusion this year, however, after they lost an automatic bid following a 70-68 loss to Mary Washington in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship game on Saturday.
"It's been an emotional roller-coaster," Catholic Coach Mike Lonergan said. "I thought we might get in. I was on the Internet last night and there were not many other number one seeds who lost in their conference tournaments. I e-mailed someone at the NCAA last night and just laid out our argument for why we should be included."
Marymount was spared such nail-biting after it earned an automatic bid following a 72-48 victory over Salisbury in the CAC final. And good thing, too: The women's field was the most competitive in history. Defending champion Wisconsin-Stevens Point (22-5) and semifinalist DePauw (22-5) were among the teams that did not earn bids to the 50-team tournament.
Marymount Coach Bill Finney is one of the coaches who helped select the field. He said he was on the phone from 11 a.m. until 7:15 p.m. yesterday with the selection committee, with only 25 minutes for breaks. "It was my first eight-hour phone call," Finney said.
Sites for the round-of-16 and round-of-eight games are not announced until second-round games are completed.