DePauw earns first-round bye; hosts Wittenberg on Saturday
February 27, 2002 - DePauw, ranked seventh by both Basketball America and D3Hoops.com, has earned a first-round bye in the 2002 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship and hosts a second-round game at the Lilly Center on Saturday, March 2, at 7 p.m. against Wittenberg University (26-3). Wittenberg defeated Franklin by a 75-44 score on Thursday.
Tickets, $4 for adults and $3 for students, senior citizens and children over the age of five, are on sale in the athletic department office on the second floor of the Lilly Center.
DePauw earned automatic qualification into the Championship by winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title with a 16-2 conference record. The Tigers are making their 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament and first since the 1992-93 season. DePauw finished second in 1990 and third in 1984.
The Tigers opened the season with 11 straight wins and reached as high as second in the national polls. Currently, they are on a seven-game win streak.
Four Tigers score in double figures led by senior wing Joe Nixon at 17.4 points per game and junior post Joe Ringger with 17.3. Junior wing Jeremy Bettis follows with 14.8 and senior guard Mike Howland with 11.5. Ringger grabs 8.1 rebounds per outing, while Bettis hauls down 7.8 per contest.
Howland, the single-season assist leader in SCAC history, dishes out 6.4 assists per game and has a 1.9:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. As a team, the Tigers rank second in Division III in field goal percentage at 51.6 percent.
The winner of Saturday's game advances to the sectional (Sweet Sixteen) at a site to be determined on Sunday.