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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Men enter tournament with high expectations

Published: March 2, 2007
Section: Sports

The Brandeis Judges ended their regular season by completing their first ever sweep of their rivals, the New York University Violets. The Judges will ride their strong finish to the season into the Mens Division III NCAA National Championship bracket.

Even more important than just sweeping NYU, the game was a must win to get into the tournament. We really needed that game, Coach Brian Meehan said.

The men enter the tournament with a 19-6 record. Their first game will played at Rhode Island College in Providence, RI against the 21-4 Trinity College Bantams.
The Judges are lead by their veteran leadership as their two scoring leaders, Steve DeLuca 08 with 14.8 points per game, and Joe Coppens 08 with 10.3 points per game look to help the young Brandeis squad storm past the competition in the tournament.

Though the main goal of post-season play is to win a championship, there are other important lessons to learn when entering such a tournament. Every team that enters the NCAA tournament knows that they will come out of it with a great deal of experience that will help them throughout the rest of their careers.

Experience in the tournament is very important. There is a different noise to the crowd, theres a different anxiety level, theres a different tension in the air. That experience is very helpful, Meehan said.

This team is particularly young as they have nine underclassmen, and no seniors. With such a young core of talent the Judges are hoping to gain a large amount of experience in the tournament.

Going further in the tournament is exciting, but if you dont get past that first game its all for nothing, Meehan said.

Beyond gaining experience, and challenging the NCAA bracket as the Judges race to try to earn their first ever national championship, the Judges are also trying to continue making Brandeis basketball history.

For the first time in Brandeis University history, both the mens and womens basketball teams will be heading to post-season play. Also, for the first time since the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons, the Judges have posted back-to-back winning seasons.

We really have to focus on Trinity on Friday night and then at the end of the season when we look back at the different accomplishments weve had, Im sure that were going to be happy, Meehan said.

A great deal of credit for the Judges recent success is due to coach Meehan who come to Brandeis during the 2003-04 season and revived basketball life at Brandeis. The one time New England Coach of the Year has led the young Brandeis squad through record breaking performances, and now has guided them to the Division III NCAA tournament.

Its a total commitment. There has been a lot of changes at Brandeis. We have an excellent administration who understands the value of a well rounded experience. Everything comes together to help something become successful, and thats what happened here, Meehan said.

As the team continues their winning ways, fan support continues to rise along with the team. The fans have been a major part of the teams success and their support is greatly appreciated by the team.

The Judges hope to continue receiving such great fan support, and the Brandeis Athletics Department looks to help that support grow during the tournament. The Athletics Department is handing out free tickets to the game, and is providing free transportation to Rhode Island College so the students can cheer on their Judges as they look to fight their way to a national championship.

When things are tough, especially in a tournament game, if you can draw energy from your fans it really goes a long way, Meehan said.