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Williams ranked 15th in D3hoops.com Top 25, also earned a spot in the NCAA Region I rankings

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Both Middlebury and Williams appear in this week's D3Hoops.com National Top 25.

The D3hoops.com national Top 25 is but a snapshot in time. The NCAA Division III regional rankings are similar, but will eventually carry much more weight.

Williams moved up to No. 15 in this week's D3hoops.com Top 25. Williams had dropped from 10th to 17th in last week's poll. But moved up thanks to road wins at Trinity and Little Three rival Wesleyan.

The top two teams in the nation remain the same, with St. Joseph (Conn.) and Randolph-Macon again 1 and 2.

What is more important to Williams coach Kevin App, his players, and the other teams in the Top 25 are the first set of regional rankings which were released Tuesday afternoon by the NCAA.

The first set of rankings are released in alphabetical order. When the second regional rankings come out on Feb. 14, they will be in top-to-bottom order. 

Williams is in Region I along with the rest of NESCAC. The region consists of four conferences, NESCAC, MASCAC, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference and the North Atlantic Conference.

Of the seven teams to be ranked in Region I, six of them are NESCAC schools. In addition to Williams and Middlebury, Hamilton, Tufts, Trinity and Wesleyan are ranked, along with St. Joseph's.

There are 10 regions and the New England region was split into two a few years ago. The New England Collegiate Conference, Little East Conference, Commonwealth Coast Conference and the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference make up Region II.

In last year's final Region I rankings, Wesleyan had the top spot, followed by St. Joseph, Williams and Middlebury.

The first teams ranked in Region II are Babson and WPI from NEWMAC, Keene and Western Connecticut of the Little East, and CCC teams Nichols and Western New England.

The regional rankings will be published on Feb. 14 and 21. The final regional rankings will be determined on Feb. 26, which is when committee chair Sara Quatrocky — the athletic director at Maryville University — and the other nine members of the men's committee, will bracket the 64-team men's tournament field.

That field will be unveiled on Monday, Feb. 27, with the first and second rounds to be played at on-campus sites March 3-4.

The men's Final Four will be played in Fort Wayne, Ind., March 16 and 18.

As to this week's Top 25, after tumbling from 10th to 17th last week, a 94-79 win at Trinity and an 80-62 win at Wesleyan helped the Ephs move up two spots to 15th.

Middlebury, No. 3 last week, is ranked seventh. The Panthers trailed by 21 points at halftime at Wesleyan last Friday night but put on a late rally to fall 89-85. Then on Saturday, Middlebury needed overtime to beat Trinity 65-64. The 1-1 weekend kept the Panthers in the Top 10.

The Hartford-based Blue Jays received 15 first-place votes, while Randolph-Macon got the other 10. St. Joe's, at 22-0, is the only undefeated team in Division III men's basketball. Randolph-Macon and fifth-ranked Keene State are the only teams in the Top 25 with one loss.

The rest of the Top Five start with No. 3 Christopher Newport, No. 4 Mount Union and Keene. 

The other New England team in the Top 25 is WPI. The Engineers dropped from No. 12 to 20.

Two of the teams in this week's Top 25 have Williams connections.

Ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins is coached by Josh Loeffler, who worked for Dave Paulsen at Williams in 2005-06. Berry College, located near Rome, Ga., and some 75 miles Northwest of Atlanta, came in at No. 25. Berry's coach is Mick Hedgepeth, who was on App's first staff at Williams back from 2014-16.

Howard Herman can be reached at  hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253. 


Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.

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