Men’s, women’s basketball teams head to NCAA tournament

WUSTL to host men's first and second rounds; women begin postseason play on the road

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are headed to the NCAA Division III tournament, which begins this weekend for both squads. The men begin at home as hosts of the first two rounds, while the women travel to Crestview Hills, Ky., to begin their postseason play.

The top-ranked and two-time NCAA Division III defending national champion men’s basketball team will host the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament first and second rounds Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6, at the WU Field House.

Illinois Wesleyan University and No. 25-ranked Central College (Iowa) will square off in first-round action at 6 p.m. Friday, March 5, while Washington University will face Westminster College (Mo.) at 8 p.m. The winners of the two first-round games will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday, with a chance to advance to the NCAA sectionals.

The men’s team (23-2) went 13-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA) and won its 10th championship to earn the league’s automatic bid. WUSTL is making its 15th NCAA appearance as a Division III school and 17th overall and sports a 32-15 (.681) all-time postseason record.

The box office will open at 4:45 p.m. Friday. Ticket prices are $3 for students with an ID and $6 for adults. Washington University undergraduate students with an ID will be admitted free courtesy of Student Union.

The No. 6-ranked women’s basketball team will open its tournament run with Maryville College (Tenn.) at 5 p.m. (ET) Friday, March 5. Regional host Thomas More College will face Fontbonne University in the other regional semifinal at 7 p.m. (ET), with the winners advancing to play in the regional championship at 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday, March 6.

The women’s team is making its 21st consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament after receiving an automatic bid as UAA champions. The Bears, who are 23-2 overall and have won eight straight games, advanced to the NCAA Division III championship game in 2009 and have been the NCAA runner-up in two of the past three seasons.

The women have an NCAA Division III-record four national championships, the last coming in 2001, and have made eight Final Four appearances. They are 49-18 all-time in NCAA tournament play.