D-III on D3: NCAA Tournament Bracketology, April 16th

It is that time of year again! As a reminder, these early brackets require me to project ahead. For example, I obviously have to select the AQs, which in turn creates the at-large pool.

If you are coach, player, alum, fan, parent etc. and take exception with the Pool C selections, my suggestion would be to win your AQ, because as things stand right now, it does not appear that you will make the field as an at-large.

Pool B: Right now, there are essentially seven teams in contention for five spots, the last two left out were Centre and Berry, not surprisingly due to weak strength of schedule (SOS). There are still enough key games left (e.g., the Southern Conference playoffs and Whittier vs. Colorado College) that the Pool B field can shift dramatically.

Eastern once again risked being on the outside looking in due to a weak SOS, but they hold the trump card this year - a win against a regionally-ranked opponent (York), something no other Pool B team will have.

Pool C: The good news in 2014 is that unless there are a lot of conference tournament upsets that shift some of the very top teams into the Pool C field, there aren't going to be teams left out of the field who had truly elite seasons. Nonetheless, the race for the five bids will be extremely competitive. As of now, there are still 15-20 teams with realistic shots at the five bids if things break their way.

The biggest surprise to me in compiling the first Bracketology was how well the top NESCAC teams rated this year, which is contrary, I believe, to the perception of many. Bowdoin was the last team out (which would have put four NESCAC teams in the field), and a few other NESCACs are also near the top of the list of those in contention along with several other teams. The ODAC is another conference that rates a bit higher than anticipated.

Keep in mind that, with respect to seeding after the Top 8 in both brackets, geography plays a bigger role than a team's credentials.


Bracket as of April 16th


North

#1 RIT (Liberty AQ)
      vs. winner of
#8 Springfield (NEWMAC AQ) vs. #9 Endicott (CCC AQ)

#4 Union (Pool C) vs. #13 New England C. (NAC AQ)
      vs. winner of
#5 Amherst (Pool C) vs. #12 Keene State (Little East AQ)



#3 Cortland (SUNYAC AQ) vs. #14 Keuka (NEAC AQ)
      vs. winner of
#6 Ithaca (Empire 8 AQ) vs. #11 Adrian (MIAA AQ)

#2 Tufts (NESCAC AQ) vs. #15 Emmanuel (GNAC AQ)
      vs. winner of
#7 Wesleyan (Pool C) vs. #10 Montclair State (Skyline AQ)



South

#1 Stevenson/Salisbury winner (AQ)
      vs. winner of
#8 York (Pool C) vs. #9 Eastern (Pool B)

#4 Denison (NCAC AQ) vs. #13 Aurora (Midwest AQ)
      vs. winner of
#5 Cabrini (CSAC AQ) vs. #12 Scranton (Landmark AQ)



#3 Washington C. (Centennial AQ) vs. #14 Whittier* (Pool B)
      vs. winner of
#6 Washington & Lee (ODAC AQ) vs. #11 Otterbein (Pool B)

#2 Stevenson/Salisbury loser (AQ) vs. #15 Colorado College* (Pool B)
      vs. winner of
#7 Lynchburg (Pool C) vs. #10 Sewanee (Pool B)



* The only flights in the above bracket involve Colorado College and Whittier.

Visit the thread on the LaxPower Forum to read or participate in the discussion.



D-III is a long-time contributor to the LaxPower Forum. What appears above is a lightly edited version of his post there.

2014-04-16



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