March Madness Begins as Spartans Face Illinois Wesleyan in NCAA Tournament
Mar 4, 2015
Junior Andre Norris posted a gaudy stat line of 24.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpg, and 3.0 spg in three IIAC tournament games as UD clinched an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and its second IIAC tournament title.
DUBUQUE, Iowa –The University of Dubuque men’s basketball team will face the Titans of Illinois Wesleyan on Friday, March 6 at 5:00 p.m. after securing a Division III NCAA Tournament bid thanks to their second Iowa Conference Tournament title in the last three years.
UW-Stevens Point will play host to both first and second round games as the Spartans will play the winner of the UW-Stevens Point/Concordia (Wis.) matchup if they defeat the Titans at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 7.
The Spartans (23-5, 10-4 IIAC) defeated IIAC foes Luther, Coe, and Wartburg in the IIAC tournament to claim the conference’s automatic NCAA berth in 2015. Junior Andre Norris, the do-it-all forward, paved the way after averaging 24.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, three steals, three blocks, and three assists per game in three IIAC tournament games. UD set a school record with 23 wins and have compiled 83 victories in the last four years.
This marks the first meeting between Illinois Wesleyan and UD in postseason play and third matchup in the series after a pair of Titan wins during the 1952-'53 and 1960-‘61 seasons.
Illinois Wesleyan (19-8, 10-4 CCIW) makes its sixth-straight NCAA tournament appearance after finishing second in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) regular season standings and conference tournament. The Titans lost to the regular season champion, Augustana (lll.), in the tournament championship, 78-74.
The private liberal arts college located in Bloomington, Ill. plays in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. The CCIW was the third-best conference in the nation this year according to BennettRank.com and sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament. Augustana (Ill.) (23-4, 11-3) and Elmhurst (Ill.) (19-7, 9-5) preceded the Titans selection vs. UD. Five CCIW teams were ranked at some point during the season in the D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll with Illinois Wesleyan reaching as high as the No. 5 spot in the Week 3 (December 3) release. Illinois Wesleyan received 24 votes in the final D3Hoops.com poll with Augustana (No. 6) and Elmhurst (received 31 votes) following suit. UD garnered seven votes.
The Titans are battle tested after reaching the Final Four of the Big Dance in both 2012 and 2014. Illinois Wesleyan was knocked out of the tournament by single digits in both instances, falling to eventual champion, UW-Whitewater, last year.
IWU features a prolific offense that led the CCIW in scoring (78.6), FG% (47.5), 3FG% (40.5), assists (16.9), assist/turnover ratio (1.39), and 3-point FG made (10.2) during conference play. The Titans two leading scorers, guards Jordan Nelson and Dylan Overstreet, averaged just 12.7 and 11.9 ppg, respectively. Mike Marietti, a 6’8” center, led the CCIW at a 72.1 percent shooting clip from the field.
Overstreet was also named a Top-10 finalist for the nationally prestigious Jostens trophy. The Jostens Trophy is a national award created by the Rotary Club of Salem, Va., to honor the most outstanding men's and women's NCAA Division III basketball players of the year. The award takes into account three vital parts: basketball ability, academic prowess and community service.
This is the second straight University of Dubuque team to face Illinois Wesleyan in the postseason after the Spartan women’s soccer team played the Titans in the first round of the NCAA tournament during the fall.