Manchester to Host Division Three Final Four

Brandi Norton

Basketball season is just around the corner and to start the new season, Manchester University announced that it will host the Final Four Basketball Tournament for the next three years. “The Division Three Final Four is the final four teams out of over 440 men’s basketball programs that are competing for a national championship,” said the men’s head coach, Nate Conley. Although Manchester is hosting this event, it will be held in Fort Wayne at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

With MU being the host, this event affects Conley as a coach. “It’s an incredible, professional development opportunity to be able to witness four of the best small colleges in the country play live,” Conley said.

Being both the host and head coach, Conley is involved in the logistical things, such as attending a banquet, meeting with other coaches from all over the country, soaking up new information, being able to connect, and having the opportunity to just be a part of a special weekend.

“It’s everyone’s goal to try to compete for a national championship, so being able to witness good basketball, and meet other coaches from all over the country all in one weekend is special,” said Conley happily.

Senior guard Matthew Westman agrees, and goes one step further. “It’s great that we get to host the Final Four event, but it would be better if we got to play in it,” he said.

“Not only would it be good for the basketball team, but it would bring more attention to our school as a whole, which can potentially lead to more recruits and more students because it’s a big event that will have thousands of people there” Westman continued. Westman also mentioned that this event can bring more banners to the school if they played in the tournament because they haven’t won a title since 2011.

Indeed, he thinks that it would be a good way to wake the community and get people connected to Manchester basketball. “In order for our team to make the tournament it starts with the coaches and then leads to the players,” Westman said. “If we lock in as a team and execute the game plan that our coach puts out then we should have no problem making it into the Final Four.”

Westman mentioned that his favorite part about this event was the atmosphere. “I just love how many fans it brings out from the different areas, the different teams I never seen before,” he said. “I just love the energy it brings to the building.”

C. J. Hampton, also a senior on the men’s basketball team, said hosting the Final Four affected him in a few ways. “It gives me a lot of confidence and motivation, to set a goal to be a part of this event next year,” he said with a friendly smile. “Hosting an event like this is always special, and it’s a great tradition that the NCAA has. Being able to play in that would be amazing.”

Hampton said if he could choose another place for the Final Four to be held, on a large scale, it would be at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “On a small scale it could be held somewhere in Chicago, where Division Three isn’t as hyped up,” he said. “It could gain a lot of exposure to the D3 players to show the talent that we have.”