Rose-Hulman basketball coaches Jim Shaw and Tony Hill don’t want to win the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship this weekend just because this is their last year in the SCAC.

They want to win it because they are competitors and they care about their current team.

“I really don’t think about that,” Shaw said of this weekend being the final time he coaches in the SCAC. Rose will switch to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this summer.

“We’re so focused on the task at hand that we don’t have time to think about next year or past years.”

Shaw’s fifth-seeded Engineers (11-14 overall, 7-7 SCAC) will take on fourth-seeded DePauw (12-12, 8-6) in the first round of the SCAC men’s tournament at about 9 p.m. EST today at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. Top-seeded Trinity, the conference’s regular-season champion, will take on Rhodes at 7.

“Trinity established itself as the best team in the league [with a 12-2 SCAC record],” Shaw noted. “They’re beatable, but they’ve been consistent and they’ve earned the title of ‘best team in the league.’ ”

Shaw said about five other teams, including Rose-Hulman, are capable of rattling off a three-game winning streak today, Saturday and Sunday to capture the SCAC title, adding that DePauw is “playing as well as anybody in the league.”

The Engineers should be as familiar with DePauw as any team in the conference, because they lost at DePauw 78-65 last Saturday. A Rose performance similar to that one would most likely lead to an early exit from the tournament.

“I hope [the student-athletes] coming out of finals [Thursday] will actually energize us and clear our heads a little bit,” Shaw mentioned. “I hope we play with the energy and focus we’re capable of.

“We really need to limit their transition opportunities. They do a great job of pushing the ball and spotting shooters behind the [3-point] line. We have to do a better job of sprinting back and, more importantly, matching up.”

DePauw’s leading scorer is 6-foot-2 senior guard Alex Stewart, averaging 15.0 points per game. Rose-Hulman’s go-to guy is 6-0 senior guard Munchie Muskeyvalley, who tallies 16.3 ppg.

Meanwhile, DePauw’s regular-season champion women’s team (24-1, 14-0) — ranked fifth in the latest d3hoops.com NCAA Division III national poll — is the overwhelming favorite to take home SCAC tournament honors and earn the automatic bid to the Division III tournament. The Tigers will battle eighth-seeded Millsaps at 6 p.m. EST today, also in Memphis.

But Hill estimated that about four other teams, including Rose, are capable of knocking DePauw off the throne if they put forth outstanding performances this weekend.

The female Engineers, who are matched up against third-seeded Oglethorpe at 4 p.m. EST today, rely heavily on a pair of 5-10 junior forwards — Rebekah Forsyth (21.6 ppg) and Suzy Carlson (17.2 ppg). Carlson leads all divisions of NCAA women’s basketball with a 96.6 shooting percentage from the free-throw line, having made 115 of 119 attempts.

“We’ve either beaten or played everybody tough, except Oglethorpe, and we didn’t have Rebekah then,” Hill assessed, pointing out the Engineers’ 90-58 regular-season road loss to today’s opponent Jan. 20.

Oglethorpe’s Stormy Petrels (20-5, 10-4) start four freshmen, topped in scoring by 5-7 guard Katie Kulavic at 17.3 ppg.

“They run and they press after [the opponents’] made and missed shots,” Hill said. “We have to do a better job of handling their press.”

Probable lineups

Rose-Hulman

Engineers (13-11, 6-8 SCAC)

Pos Player Ht Yr Ppg

F Suzy Carlson 5-10 Jr. 17.2

F Rebekah Forsyth 5-10 Jr. 21.6

C Anna Guy 6-1 Sr. 7.0

G Jill Floyd 5-6 So. 11.3

G Lindsey Reichle 5-3 Fr. 6.1

Coach — Tony Hill (37-39 in third year at Rose-Hulman)

Oglethorpe Stormy

Petrels (20-5, 10-4 SCAC)

Pos Player Ht Yr Ppg

F Biz Richmann 5-10 Fr. 11.0

F Hannah Brooks 5-9 Fr. 6.7

G Katie Kulavic 5-7 Fr. 17.3

G Erin Flynn 5-7 Jr. 13.0

G Anna Findley 5-6 Fr. 12.4

Coach — Ron Sattele (29-21 in second year at Oglethorpe)

Game at a glance

Matchup — The No. 6-seeded Engineers will battle the No. 3-seeded Stormy Petrels from Atlanta in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament first-round game.

Tipoff — About 4 p.m. EST, St. Benedict at Auburndale, Cordova, Tenn.

Broadcast — WMHD-FM 90.7 will air the contest, beginning with a 3:45 p.m. pregame show.

Last game — Last Saturday, Rose lost at DePauw 72-61. On Sunday, Oglethorpe won at Hendrix 91-88.

Hot hands — For Rose, Forsyth posted 30 points and 14 rebounds against DePauw. For Oglethorpe, Kulavic and Findley each scored 19 points against Hendrix.

Injury report — None reported.

Series — Oglethorpe leads 8-5, having routed the Engineers 90-58 Jan. 20 at Atlanta.

— David Hughes

Probable lineups

Rose-Hulman

Engineers (11-14, 7-7 SCAC)

Pos Player Ht Yr Ppg

F Jared Moore 6-3 So. 6.6

F Lorenzo Rice 6-4 Fr. 7.8

C Brennan Dunville 6-7 Sr. 12.0

G Munchie Muskeyvalley 6-0 Sr. 16.3

G Jason Bednarko 6-2 Jr. 7.6

Coach — Jim Shaw (184-127 in 12th year at Rose-Hulman)

DePauw

Tigers (12-12, 8-6 SCAC)

Pos Player Ht Yr Ppg

F Ryan Werntz 6-4 So. 3.8

F Austin Brown 6-4 Jr. 9.0

C Stephen Schott 6-6 So. 14.8

G Alex Stewart 6-2 Sr. 15.0

G Mike Moore 5-8 Fr. 9.8

Coach — Bill Fenlon (225-134 in 14th year at DePauw, 332-203 in 22nd year overall)

Game at a glance

Matchup — The No. 5-seeded Engineers will take on the No. 4- seeded Tigers from Greencastle in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament first-round game.

Tipoff — About 9 p.m. EST, Mallory Gymnasium, Memphis, Tenn.

Broadcast — WMHD-FM 90.7 will air the contest, beginning with an 8:45 p.m. pregame show.

Last game — Last Saturday, DePauw won at home over Rose 78-65.

Hot hands — For Rose, Muskeyvalley pumped in 20 points against DePauw. For DePauw, Stewart tallied 15 points against Rose.

Injury report — None reported.

Series — DePauw leads 51-40, having split two decisions with the Engineers this season.

— David Hughes

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