Wabash is heading to Wooster for the final four of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament, searching for its’ first NCAA Division III tournament appearance since 1998.
The Little Giants (21-5) and ranked No. 25 in the nation, will play No. 22 Wittenberg (21-5) in the second semi-final at 7:30 p.m., while No. 13 Wooster (22-4) will play DePauw (17-9) in the first semi-final. Wabash defeated Hiram in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday 87-76, while Witternberg beat Ohio Wesleyan 73-51, DePauw beat Oberlin 66-62, and Wooster beat Allegheny 91-89. During the regular season, Wabash defeated Wittenberg 96-83 at home, and fell to the Tigers on the road 76-62 earlier this month. In fact, after a 17-1 start, the Little Giants suffered four losses in their next six games, with all of the losses coming on the road. “I don’t necessarily think we played bad down the stretch,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “We clearly did not score it like we did early.” Wabash also lost at Wooster 91-84, and at DePauw 94-79 during that stretch. Jack Davidson’s 24.6 points per game leads the Little Giants offensive average of 86.6, which is 28th best in the country. Brumett knows the Little Giants will have to perform better on the road if they want a chance to continue their season. “We’ve just got to play better on the road,” he said after Tuesday’s quarterfinal win over Hiram. “If we do, we know we can beat anyone, and that’s what we are going to prepare for for Friday and take Friday singular and not worry about Saturday.” The winner of the NCAC tournament will get an automatic tourney berth, but all indications point to an additional team getting an at-large bid. “Us and Wittenberg are probably playing for an at-large bid,” Brumett said. “And regardless of what happens, the reality is we have made so much progress this year.” If Wabash wins, they will play the winner of the DePauw and Wooster game on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Wooster.