Rams receive at-large bid to NCAA Division II East Region Tournament; Will play Franklin Pierce in the first round

Rams receive at-large bid to NCAA Division II East Region Tournament; Will play Franklin Pierce in the first round

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia University men's basketball team's season will continue on as the Rams received an at-large bid into the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament Sunday night.  Philadelphia will begin the tournament against Franklin Pierce on Saturday, March 10 at Assumption College at 6 p.m.

The Rams are in the NCAA Tournament for the 32nd time in program history, which is the second-highest total in Division II–behind Kentucky Wesleyan's  37 appearances—and the 26th under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Herb Magee. Philadelphia last made the NCAA Tournament in 2010.

After a 19-9 regular season, Philadelphia earned the eighth seed into the eight-team regional tournament. The Rams reached the semifinal round of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship Tournament.

Philadelphia has a pair of All-CACC selections in guard Jim Connolly and center Temi Adebayo.

Connolly, a first-team selection, is on top of the conference–eighth nationally—in free throw percentage (90.5) and made three-pointers (82), Connolly is in the conference in minutes per game (37.9), fourth in points per game (ppg) (17.4) and eighth in three-point percentage (39.4).

A third-team pick, Adebayo owns the CACC's best field goal percentage (59.9). He is second in the conference—fourth in Division II—in blocks (94), 13th in scoring (15.1 ppg) and 18th in rebounds per game (6.2). He is tied for the most blocks in a single game at the D-II level this season—10 against West Chester on Nov. 15, 2011.

Franklin Pierce is the region's top seed with an overall record of 21-7. The Northeast-10 Conference regular season champion, the Ravens needed an at-large bid after bowing out in its conference tournament semifinal.

The Ravens have the Northeast-10 player of the year, guard Eric Jean-Guillaume. Jean-Guillaume is the NE-10's best three-pointer shooter at 47.2 percent (68-of-144). He is second in the conference in steals (64), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2) and 10th in scoring (14.8 points per game).

Forward Ellis Cooper was named to the all-NE 10 first team after leading the conference in steals (67) and ranking eighth in field goal percentage (52.5) and 10th in scoring (14.8 ppg).

The two teams have one previous meeting, a 59-57 win by Franklin Pierce during the 1990-91 season.

The winner of this game will face the winner of the #4 UMass-Lowell/#5 Bloomfield contest on Sunday, March 11. UMass-Lowell is an at-large team from the NE-10, while Bloomfield won the CACC.

On the other side of the bracket #2 Stonehill, the NE-10 champion, takes on #7 District of Columbia, an at-large team representing the East Coast Conference (ECC). Third-seeded Adelphi, a NE-10 at-large team, will take on #6 C.W. Post, the ECC champ.

The region final will be held on Tuesday, March 13. The region champion advances to the NCAA Elite Eight, which begins Wednesday, March 21 in Highland Heights, Ky.