PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team faces a tall order — literally — in tonight’s NCAA Division III Tournament regional at Memorial Hall.
Husson (26-2) and Eastern Connecticut State (22-6) tangle at 5:30 p.m. in the first game of the four-team regional, followed at 7:30 p.m. by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (20-8) against the Cardinals (22-5).
Tonight’s winners will play at 7 p.m. Saturday, with the survivor advancing to the round of 16.
The Engineers, who made it to the Division III final four in 2012, boast a roster that includes two players who stand 6-feet-10-inches, four at 6-8 and three at 6-6. The Cardinals’ tallest player, meanwhile, is 6-6.
“They have a huge team,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “But they can only play five big guys at a time — actually four because their point guard isn’t that tall.”
MIT was the fourth seed entering the NEWMAC Tournament. However, the Engineers walked away with the title and an automatic berth into the NCAA playoffs.
MIT recorded a 64-56 win over Emerson in the quarterfinals, a 64-46 victory over host and top-seeded Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the semifinals and a 67-56 decision over Springfield in the championship game.
The Engineers are led in scoring by 6-8 Matt Redfield (13.3), 6-8 Andrew Acker (11.8) and 6-6 Justin Pedley (11.6).
“We will be faster and quicker than they will be,” Curle said. “We’re quicker and faster than 90 percent of the teams we play. They’ve been to the NCAA Tournament six years in a row, and we’ve been six of the past nine years.
“In their last 12 games, only one team has scored more than 60 points against them — and that was 61. They will slow the tempo of the game, and they are hard to score against. They limit opponents to one shot.
“We will have to hit jumpers, make our shots and also find a way to get some second-chance shots. We will need to make them hurry more than they want. They are clearly the biggest team we’ve played, but we will be the quickest team they’ve played. And we can shoot the ball.”