St. Thomas Men's Hoops faces Guilford (N.C.) Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Oshkosh, Wis., in round of 16 NCAA tournament play.
Host UW-Oshkosh and Loras play at 7 p.m.
Friday's winners play Saturday at 7 p.m., and that winner advnaces to the national semifinals, March 15-16.
2018-19 St. Thomas Men's Basketball Notes/March 8
- No. 13-ranked St. Thomas Men's Basketball is back in the NCAA playoffs after a rare one-year hiatus.
- The Toms defeated UW-La Crosse (17-10), and defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Nebraska Wesleyan (27-2) by double-digit margins last weekend.
- The Toms are in the NCAA playoff field for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons and 19th time overall (31-17 record).
- They have won two of the last eight NCAA championships: under Steve Fritz in 2011, and winning under current head coach John Tauer in 2016. Current seniors Connor Bair, GT Johnson and Michael Hannon were backups on that title team.
- St. Thomas will break a 45-year-old school record for season scoring average.
- The 1973-74 Tommies averaged 82.7 points. This season the Toms average 84.9 points a contest.
- The Toms have outscored opponents by 411 points behind the arc.
- They lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game (9.3) and rank first in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9-to-1).
- They convert 49.7 percent from the floor (38.4% 3FG), and 72 percent from the line.
- St. Thomas has already improved 10 wins over last season (14-12).
- The Toms built a 21-game win streak from November through mid-February.
- They've taken three losses by a combined six points, as opponents made tie-breaking or come-from-behind shots in the final 25 seconds.
- The last of those close loses came Feb. 21 at home when they erased a 16-point deficit in the final 7:00 to tie but eventually lost to Augsburg on a late trey, 84-81.
- The Toms play 10-plus players and get 34 points a contest from their bench.
- They start one freshman, leading scorer and point guard Anders Nelson.
- They were picked fourth in the preseason MIAC poll after 14-12 finish last season.
- They average 11 made 3-pointers a game (17-of-34 in win over Macalester).
- They lost their season opener 78-77 at Brooklyn (N.Y.) on a last-second put back.
- They won at Augsburg in 3 OT, 112-105, and trailed in that game in the first half, second half, and each OT session.
- They also won at home over St. John's in OT, erasing a 10-point deficit.
- They've held 15 of 28 foes this season under 67 points.
- They are 21-1 this season in games when they has a better field-goal clip than opponents, and 19-0 when they limit opponents to 72 or less points.
- Bair converts at 63 percent from the floor and scores just under 15 ppg. He has 10 career scoring games of 20 or more points. He blocked 10 shots against River Falls.
- Nelson averages 14.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and shoots 81 percent at the foul line. He has surpassed 20 points six times.
- Sophomore Burt Hedstrom was voted the conference's Sixth Player of the Year. He averages 7.2 points and shoots 44 percent behind the arc. He also converts 88 percent at the foul line. He's knocked down 113 treys in 52 career games.
- Senior GT Johnson was among five voted to the conference's All-Defensive Team. He brings excellent versatility and has started 50 games the last two seasons. Johnson scores six points a game while converting 71 percent at the foul line.
- Nelson and Riley Miller were voted to the conference's five-player All-Rookie Team.
- Miller plays 19 minutes a game and scores 5.2 points with a slick 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (just 11 turnovers in 28 games).
- Hannon has made 152 career 3-point baskets and is a career 84-percent free-throw shooter. He's made 47 of his last 49 at the foul line. Hannon was a prep senior on the Cretin-Derham Hall team in 2014 that eliminated the No. 1-ranked Tyus Jones-led Apple Valley team in the postseason to reach the state tournament.
- Coach John Tauer is 185-46 (.801) in eight seasons as Tommie head coach.
- Tauer has reached the D-III Final Four as a player, an assistant coach, and as a head coach (twice). His 1993-94 Tommie team played in the national semifinals in Buffalo, N.Y., in his junior season. His 1994-95 team started 27-0 but lost at home in the NCAA second round to Nebraska Wesleyan.
- St. Thomas made Division III Final Four trips in 1994, 2011, 2013, and 2016. The Toms are 22-7 in NCAA playoffs over the last nine seasons, including a 9-0 home record. The program's all-time NCAA playoff record is 31-17.
- St. Thomas also took eight trips to Kansas City for the NAIA National Tournament from 1949-1974, with a 5-8 record.
- St. Thomas has won 33 conference regular-season and 13 conference playoff titles, both league bests. St. Thomas has reached the MIAC playoffs 32 times in the 35-year history of the format (currently 20 seasons in a row).
- St. Thomas has just one losing season in men's basketball in the last 39 years.
- The Tommies rank No. 3 among all 400-plus Division III programs in all-time victories. Going into 2018-19, the top three D-III programs for all-time victories are Wittenberg (Ohio) (1,761), Wooster (Ohio) (1,723) and St. Thomas (1,665).
- St. Thomas is the lone NCAA institution – in D-I, II or III -- to win a team national championship in each of the sports of men's and women's basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball.