No. 1-ranked St. Thomas (23-1 overall, 18-1 MIAC) is home Wednesday to play St. Olaf. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. at Schoenecker Arena.
Wednesday's game will have live video that can be accessed at www.mnsportsnetwork.com
In last Wednesday UST at Gustavus men’s game in St. Peter, Tommie senior Will DeBerg went scoreless in the first half, and his team trailed 33-27 at halftime. DeBerg sank a 3-pointer just 11 seconds into the second half, though, and went on to make four more 3-pointers and a layup for 17 points in the opening 5:29 of the half. That led a game-turning 25-5 run, and UST survived the Gusties’ late charge and posted a 68-63 victory.
DeBerg came back and made three 3-pointers in a 1:49 span of the second half in the 25-point win at St. John's.
In 51 games over the last two seasons, DeBerg has converted 116 3-pointers at a 41-percent clip.
Since losing at home 61-56 to Johnnies Feb. 1, 2012, St. Thomas is 31-2, the lone losses in the NCAA playoffs on the road to eventual national champ UW-Whitewater, and a 54-52 defeat at Concordia-Moorhead on Jan. 18.
In 2012-13, St. Thomas became the first school in NCAA history (all divisions) to win both its first 14 football games and first 14 men’s basketball games in the same school year.
St. Thomas received a No. 11 preseason rank in the d3hoops.com poll. The Toms made a steady climb all the way to No. 1, fell back to No. 2 after the Cobber loss, but regained the No. 1 tag last week.
Men's Basketball is one of five UST teams currently nationally ranked in the top five out of 435 institutions in NCAA Division III: Volleyball (No. 1); Football (No. 2); Men's Basketball (No. 1); Baseball (No. 2); and Men's Indoor Track and Field (No. 5).
Tommie teams are a combined 77-3 this school year in the sports of volleyball, football and men’s basketball, with two of the three defeats to No. 1 ranked teams.
St. Thomas senior Tommy Hannon was voted to the six-player first-team Capital One Academic All-District VI team. Hannon, who has a 3.51 grade-point average in Finance, goes onto the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration.
Hannon (93 varsity games, 966 points, 531 rebounds) has a chance to become just the eighth player to surpass 1,000 points and 500 rebounds over four seasons with the Tommies. The Toms are 83-10 in games he’s played in his career, and he’s recorded eight double-doubles in points and rebounds.
St. Thomas has eight coaches and players who are graduates of nearby Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul: head coach John Tauer; assistant coach Mike Keating; seniors Tommy Hannon and John Nance; sophomore Kevin Hannon; and freshmen Taylor Montero, Cortez Tillman and Shaye Fields.
The Tommies have secured the program's eighth consecutive 20-win season, the third longest current streak in Division III.
St. Thomas ranks No. 3 among all Division III program in all-time basketball wins. UST posted win No. 1,500 in the program's 104-year varsity history on Feb. 27, 2011 when it beat Gustavus 83-77 in the MIAC playoff championship game. Only five D-III programs have surpassed 1,500 all-time victories -- Wittenberg (Ohio) (1,669), Wooster (Ohio) (1,597), St. Thomas (1,551), Illinois Wesleyan (1,546), and Hope (Mich.) (1,514).
On November 1, the Tommies scored a 93-83 road exhibition victory over Winona State. The Warriors, 9-3 through December, came into the season ranked No. 11 in Division II and returned most of their top players from a 25-win team.
UST opened its regular season with road wins at Whitman and No. 14-ranked Whitworth. The Toms played the exhibition game and six of their first eight regular-season games on the road.
St. Thomas has seven players in its rotation that played in the March 2011 NCAA championship game victory over Wooster.
St. Thomas is averaging 82.6 points a game, with a shot to break a 39-year-old school record for season scoring average (83 ppg). Guard Will DeBerg (12.6 ppg) is the lone Tommie scoring over 11 points a game, but five others players are averaging from 7.2-11.1 points a contest.
St. Thomas has four seniors in its top six, including three who are Class of 2008 high school graduates:
--Hannon is the lone returning starter from the 2010-11 NCAA championship team. He played nine games and averaged 16.7 points and 7.0 rebounds last winter before taking a medical hardship year.
--John Nance is a former scholarship football player with the Minnesota Gophers (QB), and didn’t play basketball his first college season.
--Noah Kaiser took a medical hardship his freshman season at St. John’s then transferred to St. Thomas.
--DeBerg, in his second season as a starter, has 134 career 3-pointers.
2011-12 Tommie men’s basketball shared the conference title despite having: 1) no MIAC Player of the Week recipients in the regular season; 2) no player ranked in the top 20 in rebounding in 20-game conference stats; 3) no player ranked in the top 15 in scoring in 20-game conference stats.
UST has a similar unselfish attack this season, with no players in the MIAC's top 14 for scoring. Twelve different players have made at least one 3-pointer, and 12 different players are averaging at least seven minutes.
St. Thomas is 76-3 against conference opponents on campus since January 2006.
The Tommies are 107-9 in home games over the last 10 seasons. They went 10-2 at home last season and are 36-3 in the new Schoenecker Arena in the three seasons since the AARC opened in 2010. UST also went 9-1 in home games in 2009-10 while playing off campus at Concordia-St. Paul during the AARC construction. UST previously went 62-5 at home in its last five seasons in the old Schoenecker Arena (2004-2009).
Over the last four seasons, UST is 10-0 in postseason on-campus games.
This season, St. Thomas is 11-1 on the road, and also scored a 10-point exhibition game victory at Division II Winona State.
The Toms received 27 points a game from bench players last winter, and the number has climbed to 35 ppg thus far in 2012-13.
St. Thomas men’s basketball has 128 victories over the last five seasons -- the most in Division III. The Toms’ 128-16 won-loss record includes an 96-10 record against MIAC opponents.
St. Thomas has won eight consecutive solo or shared conference titles. That broke the previous MIAC high of seven set Hamline from 1946-53.
St. Thomas has reached the MIAC playoffs for the 25th time in a 26-year span. UST is 28-14 all-time in the MIAC playoffs, including a 25-6 on-campus record, and now has a league-best 11 playoff crowns, including six of the last seven.
St. Thomas has locked up its 11th top-two conference finish in the last 12 seasons. The Toms have won 28 MIAC regular-season and 11 conference playoff titles.
Second-year head coach Johnny Tauer has guided the Toms to a 45-8 record. Prior to taking over the program in May 2011, he was an 11-year assistant coach. He previously was a four-year player at UST from 1991-95.
He’s just the third head coach for Tommie men’s basketball since 1954.
Tauer is the latest St. Thomas head coach to guide a team to the MIAC team championship in his/her first season. He’s UST’s fifth rookie coach to win a crown in the last 11 years alone, joining John Tschida (2001 softball), Thanh Pham (2003 volleyball), Sara Evens (2005 women’s golf) and Chris Olean (2010 baseball).
The Tommies are also at or near the top in several statistical categories. St. Thomas ranks first among 407 Division III programs in field-goal percentage (52.9%), assist/turnover ratio (1.64) and scoring margin (24.0). UST also sits in place fourth in 3-point proficiency (41.8%); ninth in fewest turnovers; 10th in scoring.
--Tommie sophomore center Conner Nord made all 26 of his free-throw attempts in January. He’s improved to a 78 percent clip this season.
--Senior guard Will DeBerg made 32 consecutive free throws over a 13-game span in December and January.
--Junior guard Erik Tengwall made his last three free throws of last season and his first 21 of this season.
--St. Thomas has won 29 of its last 30 games when Tengwall has been in the starting lineup.
--The Toms have held 19 of their last 22 opponents under 66 points.
--Over the last five seasons, the Toms are 32-3 in February games.
The Tommies are ranked No. 1 in a pair of Division III computer rankings:
Massey Computer Rankings:
St. Thomas is the lone NCAA institution at any level to win a team national championship in each of the sports of men’s and women’s basketball, softball, volleyball and baseball.
Over the last three seasons, the Tommies are 19-3 against non-MIAC teams.