Despite losing in their conference tournament, the Springfield College men’s basketball team held out hope to be selected for the NCAA national basketball tournament.
After an agonizing wait through the selection show, they learned their fate and their reaction was priceless.
The NCAA tournament is the epitome of college athletics. It’s the national tournament where the best teams compete.
However, only 64 teams make the cut and at Springfield College, their name was announced 64th.
Sitting together in a room with the NCAA selection show on, every set of eyes were glued to the screen, hoping to see their name.
After 63 teams were announced, there was only one spot left in the biggest tournament in basketball and that spot went to Springfield College.
"It was really tense in the room the entire time. We were just waiting for our name and it happened to be the last team that got revealed, so it was a big relief," said Cameron Earle from South Hadley.
Forty-three teams in Division III automatically make the tournament. Only 21 are selected based on season performance out of more than 300 teams.
Springfield received one of those coveted 21 at-large spots.
"It was a great moment. It's one of the things you hope for and that the team you are working with each year gets that opportunity. As the bracket went on and we were waiting more and more for our name to get up there," said men's coach Charlie Brock.
The significance of playing in the birthplace of basketball is not lost on this program. The longstanding tradition of success in at Springfield College continues for the women as well, who also made postseason play.
"It's really nice for our basketball programs at the birthplace to go onto postseason and represent Springfield College," said women's coach Naomi Graves.
The men will travel to Pennsylvania to play in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday. The women’s team will host the northeast tournament tomorrow.
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