HCAC Men's Basketball Tournament Preview

The 2012-13 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular season has come to a close and the action shifts to tournament play this week. The winner of the six-team HCAC tournament will earn the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (22-3, 16-2 HCAC) locked up the conference’s top seed Saturday, defeating Hanover 59-57.  The Engineers captured the school’s first outright men’s basketball conference championship as a member of the HCAC with the victory and will strive for their second consecutive tournament title this weekend.

Rose-Hulman posted a 9-1 record against the conference tournament field, while Transylvania University (Ky.) finished 7-3 against the qualifiers. Hanover College earned a 6-4 mark with Defiance College (Ohio) claiming a 5-5 tally. Franklin College earned three wins against the field, while the College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio) finished 0-10 against its fellow competition.

The top-seeded Engineers are currently ranked No. 18 in the D3hoops.com poll, finishing the season with a 9-1 record down the stretch. Rose-Hulman will take on Defiance, Feb. 22, in the HCAC semifinals. The Engineers earned a season sweep of the Yellow Jackets this winter.

Defiance (16-10) enters the tournament as the No. 4 seed and has posted victories in five of its last seven games. The Yellow Jackets moved into the semifinals with an 85-66 home win against No. 5 Franklin, Feb. 19. Defiance posted against the Grizzlies during the season. 

Hanover (17-8, 14-4 HCAC) came within two games of conference champion Rose-Hulman in the standings and earned the No. 2 seed in this week’s tournament. The Panthers have won eight of 10 down the stretch heading into the postseason tourney.

Hanover will face Transylvania in the other semifinal, Feb. 22, in Terre Haute, Ind. The Panthers swept Transylvania.

Transylvania (20-6) claimed the No. 3 seed swept Mount St. Joseph during the regular season and defeated the Lions, 75-57, in the opening round of the tourney.

The HCAC tournament championship game will take place at 7 p.m., Feb. 23, from Rose-Hulman.  

Tickets will be $6.00 per session ($5.00 for students and senior citizens). Children under the age of 11 are free.

Preview courtesy of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference