The regional rankings are out and can be found here!
The next regional ranking you see will be after selections come out. Based on this release and the tournament results this weekend mixed in with a little NCAA spice and you’ll have 64 teams come Monday.
The top 4 seeds in each Region are:
Central: Northwestern-St. Paul, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Thomas, Wash-St. Louis
Great Lakes: Wittenberg, Otterbein, Ohio Northern, Calvin
Mid Atlantic: Carnegie Mellon, Stevenson, Johns Hopkins, Juniata
Midwest: Millikin, Illinois Wesleyan, Concordia (Wis), Aurora
New England: Johnson & Wales (RI), MIT, Tufts, Wesleyan
New York: Vassar, Stevens, Ithaca, Clarkson
South: Emory, Berry, Birmingham-Southern, Randolph-Macon
West: Colorado College, CMS, Southwestern, Trinity
Teams dropping out this week were: Luther (Central), Salisbury (Mid-Atlantic), UW-Stevens Point (Midwest), Carthage (Midwest), Coast Guard (New England), SUNY Geneseo (New York) and La Verne (West).
Teams added this week were: Bethel (Central), Mary Washington (Mid-Atlantic), UW-Eau Claire (Midwest), UW-La Crosse (Midwest), Wheaton (New England), Rochester (New York) and UTT (West).
Focusing on the West, and my prediction post wasn’t too far off. The RAC moved Whittier further down past Pacific Lutheran than I thought they would but in my post I mentioned that based on the criteria the RAC might do this. This is another sign that the head-to-head result is not being used as a higher priority within the RAC. I also kept La Verne in the Top 8 where as the RAC moved UTT into the 8th spot. Again, if the RAC looked at the Ranked Wins criterion as a percentage then UTT’s 2-2 record is better than La Verne’s 4-5 record. I believe they should be looking deeper and when you do that there is really no advantage here (or if there is then I would lean La Verne).
As to my general feeling, I’m just happy Whittier was moved out of the CMS/Southwestern/Trinity grouping because I didn’t think they belonged there. With that said, I want to use these rankings to identify the 20 teams I have getting at-large bids in a “much too early look”. I then want to discuss the west a little bit more with an eye on the bubble teams.
But, before I do…I’ve actually been told people have purchased their tickets to Los Angeles based on my Claremont-Mudd-Scripps prediction as to the host site. Well, with this release of the rankings, the host site has changed and if things hold, it will be at Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX). As you’ll read below, I think La Verne has a really good chance to pass UTT in the rankings prior to selection so don’t go asking for refunds just yet. Also, If the host site does stay in Texas, then know that the “probable” SCAC semi-final match between Trinity and Southwestern will determine the host site as the winner will be ranked ahead of the other school.
Ricky Nelson has a great post up that lists all of the conference tournaments and you have to remember that each of these tournament winners gets a Pool A (automatic qualifier) to the NCAA tournament. If we make the assumption that there are no upsets that cause an unranked team to win the tournament over a ranked team then here are your 20 Pool C (at-large) teams (My best guess based on 5-minutes of research):
Wash-St. Louis (Central)
St. Benedict (Central)
Ohio Northern (Great Lakes)
Mount Union (Great Lakes)
DePauw (Great Lakes)
Illinois Wesleyan (Midwest)
UW-Eau Claire (Midwest)
Vassar (New York)
Now, on the surface I can already tell you that I don’t agree with all of these and the conference tournament results will change these. But, it’s a good starting list to go by.
Bubble teams from this list are St. Benedict, DePauw, Muhlenberg, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Whitewater, Wesleyan, Vassar, Birmingham-Southern, Whittier and UTT.
Any tournament upsets will impact those bubble teams. Other teams like; Bethel, Swarthmore, Scranton, Wellesley, Clarkson, Washington & Lee and La Verne are also out there waiting. But, for the most part, your at-large teams are going to come from this list. (Note – For the purposes of my list I made sure to add a NE, NY and South team from the regional rankings. Again, doesn’t mean I agree they deserve a spot.)
Alright, let’s finish up back in the West because we do have some drama. UTT passing La Verne is extremely significant not only to those two team’s fortune but also the host site location. I’ve said this before, if UTT doesn’t get to the ASC finals, then I don’t care where they are ranked, I don’t feel good about them getting selected. Getting to the finals probably means beating both UMHB and UTD once and then losing to one of those teams. Since it’s a double-elimination tournament then it means losing twice. Ouch. I think if La Verne gets past Cal Lu in the SCIAC semi-finals then La Verne will pass UTT but boy if they drop that match all bets are off. One thing to remember is that La Verne was actually helped this week with UW-Eau Claire being ranked again in the Ranked Win criterion. There are a lot of moving parts, which is why coaches say just win the tournament and you don’t have to worry about it.