D3VBWest 2018 Preseason Top 25

I didn’t do a Top 25 last year since I didn’t want to step on my leader’s (Ricky Nelson) toes. I always enjoy his Top 25, and he’s probably about to release his version, so I figured I’d stomp around with my size 13s and invite some ridicule.

  1. Emory
  2. Washington (Mo.)
  3. Colorado College
  4. Wittenberg
  5. Calvin
  6. Johnson & Wales (RI)
  7. Juniata
  8. Pacific Lutheran
  9. Gustavus Adolphus
  10. Ohio Northern
  11. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
  12. UT-Dallas
  13. Chicago
  14. Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  15. Aurora
  16. Berry
  17. Illinois Wesleyan
  18. Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  19. Mary-Hardin Baylor (UMHB)
  20. Christopher Newport
  21. Trinity (Texas)
  22. DePauw
  23. Southwestern
  24. Ithaca
  25. Thomas More

The next 10 12 (alphabetically):  Carnegie Mellon, Heidelberg, Johns Hopkins, Luther, Mary Washington, Muskingum, MIT, Otterbein, Stevenson, Tufts, Wesleyan and Whittier.

Some insight into my process:

A lot of guessing. Actually, I went back and looked at the 2017 end-of-the-year rankings from a couple of different sources and put them on a sheet of paper. I then went through the senior graduation statistic losses and tried to look for teams outside of the rankings that return most of their team. I added them to the paper. Well, at this point, it was actually two pieces of paper. I then tried to weed out the teams that had a lot of graduation loss but decided to keep some traditional powers because they always seem to be able to reload when needed. I then grouped the teams into categories – Top 5, Top 10, etc. I then looked at the schedules for each team to see if any of them were not challenging themselves. I figured, if they weren’t playing anyone of note then they can’t prove they are a Top 25 team. This is what actually got Wesleyan moved out of my Top 25. From these groupings is where the guessing came in as I made my final selections.

Some notes about the schedules:

I was very disappointed in the Johnson & Wales (RI) schedule. Granted they come out to California but the only Top 25 team (from my list) they play will be CMS. It’s then back to the New England and New York region. If JWU can’t beat CMS then are they even a Top 25 team? I was even more disappointed in the Wesleyan schedule! Their big trip is to Susquehanna. I really was hoping these top New England teams would branch out more than they did this year. I probably have Pacific Lutheran higher than anyone else but they looked strong in the tournament and return a lot. Their big problem schedule-wise is that they only play Oshkosh and then Colorado College from my Top 25 before bunkering down in the Northwest. I think Pacific University will be good this year but no one nationally will know it. If the Lutes lose to both Oshkosh and Colorado College then they’ll never see the Top 25 until they surprise someone in the NCAA Tournament. UMHB will be another team I will have higher than most but they do play a tough West Region slate of matches. The problem is that Southwestern and Trinity both have to be good and then the Cru has to beat them to get some Top 25 love. Oh, and all respect to Illinois Wesleyan and their “Titan” of a schedule.

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