For the second consecutive season, the North Central College men’s basketball team is in the NCAA Division III playoff tournament. Their first matchup is with the College of Wooster Fighting Scots. Tipoff is on Friday, March 3 at 4:30 p.m. at Hanover College in Indiana.
The Cardinals finished the regular season 17-10 overall and 9-7 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW).
They closed the regular season with an 82-80 overall win against the CCIW opponent Illinois Wesleyan Titans, a win they needed in order to sneak into the CCIW tournament as the fourth seed.
North Central’s first opponent was the host Carthage College Red Men. They got off to a hot start and led the Red Men by as many as 23 points in the second half and held on to win by a final score of 87-85 thanks to an Aiden Chang buzzer beater.
The following evening, they took on the Augustana College Vikings. This was a close one all the way through, and the Cardinals won 69-64, making them the CCIW champions and clinching a spot in the NCAA playoffs
The College of Wooster Fighting Scots went 21-7 overall and 15-3 in their conference, the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). The Fighting Scots also won their conference championship en route to the NCAA playoffs.
North Central averages 74.7 points per game and allows an average of 71.6. Wooster averages 85.4 points per game and allows 71.3 on average.
Both teams are on hot streaks going into the playoffs. The Cardinals won eight of their last ten games including the wins in the CCIW tournament while the Fighting Scots have won their last five contests.