WILLIAMSTOWN -- It's two days later than originally scheduled, but the showdown between the Williams College and Amherst College men's basketball teams is finally here.
The Lord Jeffs and Ephs, ranked sixth and seventh respectively, in the latest D3hoops.com national poll, will play this afternoon at 2 in Chandler Gym.
Amherst is also second in the first NCAA Division III New England rankings. Williams is third, Middlebury is fourth and all three NESCAC schools trail No. 1 WPI.
After playing Amherst today, Williams comes back on Tuesday night to host Trinity. That game was postponed Saturday because of the travel restrictions from the major snowstorm that blanketed much of New England.
"This is a challenging back-to-back," Williams head coach Mike Maker said. "These teams couldn't be more different."
Traditionally, NESCAC conference games are Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The Ephs will be venturing into different scheduling territory with the Amherst-Trinity wrap-up to the regular season. Saturday's game with Trinity was moved to Tuesday night at 7. That will give the Ephs a little extra breathing time after playing the Lord Jeffs.
Maker said that the extra day shouldn't have much of an impact on how he coaches today and how his players are used.
"Our rotation is pretty well set," he said Saturday. "Our key guys are going to play a majority of minutes. We're looking forward to the challenge.
These Williams-Amherst games tend to go down to the final shots. The 83-67 loss by Williams on Jan. 23 is the exception. In that game, Williams led 35-24 with 6:28 left in the first half. Amherst went on a 18-3 run, led 42-38 at halftime and never trailed again.
The average margin of victory in the six games preceding this most recent loss was three points, and the teams are 3-3.
Williams College reminds fans that while admission is free, the doors will be closed when Chandler reaches its capacity of 1,562. Doors open at noon for the 2 p.m. game.
The Williams and Amherst women will play in the 4 p.m. nightcap.
Before today's game, the men's basketball national championship team from 2002-03 will be honored.
The MCLA basketball teams, meanwhile, had their doubleheader at Framingham State postponed from Saturday until today.
The women are scheduled to play at 1 p.m., and the men follow at 3.
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.