March is set to be an exciting month for DePauw students. Spring Break is weeks away and March Madness is set to begin March 17th.
The annual Division 1 NCAA Tournament is going to be another exciting few weeks of high-level college basketball. With the regular season winding down, teams now begin to look towards their respective conference tournaments as well as Selection Sunday on March 15th.
With a basketball filled March coming up, what is the best part about March Madness for DePauw students and what makes Division 3 basketball special for some DePauw men’s and women’s basketball?
For first-year Kyle Boyer, the best part of March Madness are the upsets. Boyer is from Austin, Texas is a fan of his hometown Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns are on the bubble in terms of making the NCAA Tournament.
Boyer said he is not confident in Texas making the tournament but added if by some chance they do sneak in he will “be pumped”.
Juniors Nolan Ginther and Nick Felke are two leaders on the court for the DePauw Men’s Basketball team. Ginther a junior from Noblesville, Indiana averaged 14.7 points per game this year for the Tigers. Ginther is hoping Michigan State can make a deep run in the tournament this year. For Ginther, Division 3 basketball is all about the work you put in, “You get to decide your own fate.”
With less mandatory workouts in the off-season, the time and effort are ultimately up to yourself, Ginther said. Ginther also emphasized the teammate aspect of the game; “You also are surrounded by a bunch of other athletes that are still playing their sports because they enjoy it and not so much for just a scholarship”.
Felke is the Tigers starting point guard. He averaged 14 points per game this season and led the team in minutes and assists per game. Felke is from Plymouth, Indiana and is a Notre Dame basketball fan. It looks like Felke’s Irish will miss out on the tournament this year. Felke said he is disappointed in the Irish's up and down season.
For Felke playing Division 3 basketball is about the experience and what it has taught him; “It has taught me how to struggle through adversity, get out of my comfort zone and not just be stuck in my own bubble”.
On the Division 3 level, the DePauw Women’s basketball team is entering the postseason and the Tigers have all the momentum. Over the weekend they clinched their 17th straight NCAA postseason after defeating Denison in the NCAC tournament championship game. The Tigers, currently ranked 3rd in the country, finished the regular season with a 27-1 record. They will be hosting the 1st and 2nd round of the tournament at Neal Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Maeve Summerville is thankful for the experience Division 3 basketball has given her, one that she will keep with her forever. Despite the sacrifices that student-athletes make it is “100% worth it” for Summerville, she said she “wouldn’t want to spend my time in college any other way because playing basketball at this level has taught me how to not only be successful on the court but successful in life as well”.
The Tigers are led by Senior guard Sydney Kopp and Junior forward Claire Keefe as they head into postseason play. The Tigers play Webster on Friday at 7 PM in Neal Fieldhouse.