Guest blogger: Bob Ferrara ’67, senior director for strategic planning, communications and alumni relations, MIT Division of Student Life
**Scroll down for updates from Feb. 22; March 1—NCAA tourney, here we come!; and March 8**
And we thought MIT Men’s Basketball fans could relax after the thrills of last season’s unforgettable journey. No way. This year’s team—with only two seniors—was to have a rebuilding year but instead is well on the way to becoming the winningest team in our program’s 109-year history! Their record is currently an astounding 21-2. With two regular-season games left, MIT is ranked—number 11 in Division III nationally and number one in the NEWMAC conference standing. Coach Larry Anderson has just passed the 200 career victories mark, an achievement unmatched by any of the other great Institute coaches before him.
So get ready for the home stretch and our own version of March Madness! The last two games are away, the first is Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Wheaton College at 5:30 p.m., and the final is at Springfield College on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 1:00 p.m. After this, the Conference Championships and, we hope, a bid to the Division III tournament. Just as our students, alumni, and friends rallied last year to such great effect, we need to be there to support these terrific young teams.
If MIT holds onto first place, the conference championships would be held at Rockwell Cage in Cambridge on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27 and 28. You can follow the team at the MIT Athletics site or the brand new MIT basketball blog, Tech Hoops. The blog is purely volunteer effort, the work of former Assistant Coach Baris Polat, now an MIT grad student, and former MIT Sports Information Director James Kramer, who now lives in Austin, Texas.
The team and coaching staff were quite overwhelmed by the support at the Harvard game this past December, when we had close to 1,000 fans and outnumbered the Crimson supporters in their own gym. And alumni support really was crucial in last year’s run, as those who witnessed the Rhode Island College miracle know. Hopefully, Mike Oglo ’48 still has his pennant from last year. As Mike says, he has waited a long to time to wave it; here we go again.
Update, Feb. 22
Our guys did it! Our guys did it! Today at Springfield College, the Men’s Basketball Team accomplished what no others have done in the 109-year history of our program. In a down-to-the-wire battle, they prevailed 66-62 over a very talented Springfield squad in the last game of the regular season. With this victory, this remarkable group set at least three major MIT records—most wins in a season (22), first ever NEWMAC regular season championship, and best regular season winning percentage (.880).
The team has followed their dream in the usual MIT sports manner—with lots of hard work and dedication but in relative obscurity with little fan support. We can completely change that for the postseason that awaits us, especially since our team has home-court advantage by virtue of winning the NEWMAC regular season.
MIT will play in the first conference championship semifinal game on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 1:00 p.m. The finals will be Sunday, Feb. 28, at noon. All these games will take place right in our own backyard in Rockwell Cage.
Alumni support really was a key ingredient in last year’s run. Let’s be there for them again in force.
Team Makes it into NCAA Division III Tournament!
Despite losing to a red-hot Clark University squad in the NEWMAC Conference semifinals, the MIT team received the last bid in the 61-team post-season championship. MIT will play DeSales at William Patterson University in Wayne, NJ—about 20 miles from NYC—on Friday, March 5, at 6:00 p.m. The second round will be played March 6. It would be great to have local alumni there to support our team! For those not living nearby, the games will be available to watch live online, thanks to D3hoops.com.
Update, March 8
Our guys lost a tough overtime match to DeSales University of Allentown, Pennsylvania in first-round NCAA play. Read details. This season was positively remarkable in so many ways. The team compiled the most wins ever and Larry Anderson became the winningest head coach in our 109-year history as well. The Institute also had the highest number of scholar-athletes of any school on the winter Academic All-Conference Team in our NEWMAC Conference. Of the 25 MIT students selected for this honor, four were basketball players. Congrats to each of them and the entire team and coaching staff for a truly magical ride this past year.