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Sports & Recreation

A weekly look into the Division III Great Lakes Region men’s basketball season.


Multiple conference showdowns occured this week that had meaningful impacts on conference races. Wittenberg, Penn-St.-Behrend, Mount St. Joseph, and Adrian all passed major tests this week as they continued their runs toward potential conference titles. In the Coaches Corner this week is Rose-Hulman head coach Rusty Loyd (28:27). His Engineers got off to a rough 1-6 start but reeled off 7 straight wins to throw themselves right into the thick of a crowded HCAC race. We talked about their turning point in the year and how they started to turn some of those close losses into wins. All this and more in another 45 minutes of Great Lakes talk.

                                          Rusty Loyd

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2018 is off and running and all 6 conferences are now knee deep in conference play the rest of the way. I wrap up holiday tournaments and the first week of resumed conference games as well as who has set themselves up for championship runs in February. Joining me in the Coaches Corner this week is Wittenberg head coach Matt Croci (36:37). The Tigers are the last unbeaten left in the region and are starting to garner national attention. We discuss Wittenberg's start to the year and how they're focusing on one day at a time as they look to make a championship run in 2018. The show wraps up with a new "Mailbag" segment, answering your questions about the region. Send in your questions for future editions on Twitter to @OACbballshow.


                                         Matt Croci

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Conference play for 2017 is a wrap! I wrap up the 2017 portion of conference play and set the table for the January and February stretch run. Which teams have set themselves up nicely for the new year and which ones have some work to do? I also preview some of the big holiday tournaments teams from around the region will play including a big event in Springfield featuring Great Lakes Power Poll teams Wittenberg (#1), Marietta (#4), and Hanover (#6). Joining me this week in the Coaches Corner is Westminster College head coach Kevin Siroki (23:22). We talk about his Titans 8-1 start to the year and what it's going to take from them to unseat perennial favorites St. Vincent and Thomas More in a competitive PAC conference. We also took the time to talk about his years coaching in Belize as well as some wonferful stories surrounding his involvement with their national team.  All this and more in another 45 minutes of Great Lakes Basketball discussion!


Kevin Siroki

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The season is 6 or 7 games old for most teams but the season premier of This Week in Great Lakes Basketball is finally here. I put a wrap on the 2017 Great Lakes Invitational and preview the teams contesting next year's event at Hope. Conference play is underway for 5 of our Great Lakes conferences and I break down who has surprised in a good way and who has disappointed thus far. Joining me in the Coaches Corner this week is Baldwin Wallace head coach Tom Heil (33:05). We break down his Yellow Jackets 4-2 start and discuss how this year's Ohio Athletic Conference may play out. All of this and more in another hour of This Week in Great Lakes Basketball.


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MARIETTA, Ohio — While the 2016-17 National Champion was crowned less than two weeks ago, plans are well underway for one of the premier Division III events of the 2017-18 men's basketball season.

The game schedule has been set for the inaugural Great Lakes Invitational to be hosted by Marietta College November 17-18, 2017. Joining the Pioneers in Ban Johnson Arena will be Hope College (Mich.), Mount St. Joseph University, Wittenberg University, Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.), Dickinson College (Pa.), St. John Fisher College (N.Y.) and the University of St. Thomas (Minn.).

All eight teams posted records of .500 or better this season and four played in the NCAA Tournament. St. Thomas lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this year, while St. John Fisher bowed out in the second round. Marietta and Hope both made it to the Sweet 16.

The Great Lakes Invitational game schedule follows with each school's 2016-17 final record in parenthesis.

Friday, November 17, 2017:
2:00 p.m. — Wittenberg (18-9) vs. Mount St. Joseph (20-7)
4:00 p.m. — Birmingham-Southern (14-14) vs. St. John Fisher (23-6)
6:00 p.m. — St. Thomas (19-8) vs. Dickinson (16-11)
8:00 p.m. — Marietta (26-5) vs. (Hope (23-7)

Saturday, November 18, 2017:
1:00 p.m. — Wittenberg vs. Birmingham-Southern
3:00 p.m. — Hope vs. St. John Fisher
5:00 p.m. — Mount St. Joseph vs. Dickinson
7:00 p.m. — Marietta vs. St. Thomas

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The calendar has flipped to March which means the NCAA Tournament is upon us and 7 teams have made the field from the Great Lakes:

Marietta (OAC)

Calvin (MIAA)

Thomas More (PAC)

Medaille (AMCC)

Hope (MIAA)

Hanover (HCAC)

Wooster (NCAC)


I break down the bracket and make my selections for weekend while also breakdown the pods with 3 coaches from the region. Hanover's Jon Miller (7:24), Marietta's Jon VanderWal (24:23), and Medaille's Mike Blaine (33:24) all joined me to talk about their draws and the keys to advancing this weekend. How many Great Lakes squads will be in the last 16 come Sunday? All this and more in another 50 minutes of Great Lakes talk!



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Three weeks remain in the regular season and several conferences are setting up for photo finishes. The OAC, HCAC, and AMCC have at least two teams tied atop the conference while Denison's loss to Wittenberg brings the NCAC race to within one game. Hope and St. Vincent have big cushions in the MIAA and PAC but are not home free with key games still to play. Wednesday night may prove to be the biggest night of the year as several huge conference matchups take place with championship implications in all of them:

Anderson @ Mount St. Joseph

Marietta @ Mount Union

Denison @ Ohio Wesleyan

Penn-St.-Behrend @ Medaille

Joining me in the Coach's Corner tonight is St. Vincent head coach D.P. Harris (30:08). We talk about his Bearcat's dominance over the PAC the last several years and how his team has once again is the favorite again despite turning over 8 seniors off of last year's roster. All of this and more in another 45 minutes of Great Lakes talk!


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The HCAC showdown between Hanover and Mount St. Joseph was a nip and tuck affair with the Lions winning on the road and creating a three way tie atop the conference. Meanwhile in the PAC, St. Vincent knocked off Westminster to keep pace with a Thomas More squad who continues to win games at will. Ohio Northern, John Carroll, and Marietta all went 2-0 this week to stay atop the OAC while Denison continues to try and run away from the field in the NCAC. Joining me this week in the Coach's Corner is Hermie Carmichael of La Roche (26:02). We talked about his program's 8-0 AMCC start as well as rebuilding a program that went 1-24 just 2 seasons ago. All this and more in another 45 minutes of Great Lakes talk!


                                       Hermie Carmichael

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Most of the region's teams are halfway through the season as conference play begins again for everyone. I recapped the region's holiday tournaments as well as 2017's opening week of basketball. Hope, Alma, and Calvin opened up MIAA play with 2 wins, but the OAC and PAC conferences were thrusts into chaos up top as some of the favorites were toppled. Denison stayed on cruise control as they took down Ohio Wesleyan this week opening up a two game lead in the NCAC. This week in the interview corner is a Hope double feature as Head Coach Greg Mitchell (33:09) and SR Harrison Blackledge (47:19) join me to talk Flying Dutchman basketball. All this and more in another hour of Great Lakes basketball talk.

Harrison Blackledge


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Conference play for 2016 is in the books and holiday tournaments are all that's left before we kick off 2017. 2016 however did not end quietly as Ohio Northern shocked John Carroll in Ada sending the Blue Streaks to their 5th loss of the year. The AMCC and HCAC conferences had showdown weekends of unbeatens. La Roche knocked off Medaille in Pittsburgh to go atop the Allegheny Mountain while Hanover dispatched Anderson to remain the last unbeated in the Heartland. I also previewed some of the better holiday tournaments going on around the region including a pair of tests for #4 Marietta down in Daytona Beach. Joining me this week in the Coach's Corner is Travis Schwab of the upstart Muskingum Muskies (35:00). We talked about their great start to the year as well as how Coach Schwab and his staff are bringing a new culture to the program in New Concord. All that and more in another great 50 minutes of Great Lakes talk.

Travis Schwab

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