The NCAA played a little trick or treat with us by saying they updated the rankings and then didn’t. It’s all fixed now.
The third regional rankings are out and they can be found here. These rankings will actually feed into the final ranking, which will be done on Sunday. None of the previous two rankings really matter at this point. On Sunday, they will determine the new rankings (the one used for selection) and will use this ranking to construct the ranked wins and losses. They will then modify the ranking as needed and add in any new ranked wins or losses. Even if a team falls out of the rankings between now and Sunday, any ranked wins or losses caused by that team will still count.
I did a prediction post on these rankings on Tuesday, which you can find here. Once again, I feel like I’m pretty close to what the West RAC came up with this week. We have the same top 4 teams in order this week even though I thought the RAC might do something different. In the end, we are thinking alike so that’s good. The RAC decided to go with Cal Lutheran instead of UT-Dallas for the 5th spot and even though I had this reversed, I understand why it was done. Technically, Cal Lutheran has the advantage over UT-Dallas; it’s just that I think a head-to-head win should count more in this close comparison. Still, no worries. (Well, unless you are a Comet fan, I guess.) We both had La Verne in the 7th spot and really no other team right now is worthy of breaking into the top 7. With that said, by moving UT-Dallas down to 6th, the RAC would have compared them with La Verne. La Verne has an SOS advantage and a head-to-head win while UT-Dallas has record. What the RAC is saying is that UT-Dallas also has a ranked win advantage and a common opponent advantage. Either that or the SOS advantage La Verne has shrunk to a point they are considered equal. I can make a case for a UT-Dallas advantage in ranked wins and common opponent but these comparisons are razor thin. I would say if La Verne beats CMS tonight both of those advantages should get flipped in La Verne’s favor.
Where things get interesting is the 8th spot. If you read my prediction write-up then you know we really don’t have a clear-cut favorite for this spot. In my mind it was between Chapman, PLU and Southwestern. The RAC decided to put Whittier in this spot. Honestly, that’s fine but I have an issue even considering them with Chapman still on the board. It’s one of those cases where we get blinded by the criteria over what common sense and our eyes are telling us. Still, no one should get worked up over this because I don’t believe our 8th team gets a bid. We need to be worried about our 6th and 7th ranked teams.
In my prediction post I thought Pacific Lutheran should get the 8th spot simply because I could make the best argument to get them an NCAA at-large bid. After having time to think about it, I would have put Southwestern here. Now, don’t start blaming me for being a homer with this pick, just yet. I would have put Southwestern here because they have losses to CMS, Trinity (2), Colorado College (2), UMHB, Chapman and La Verne and that would have given these teams extra ranked wins! The problem with this is that it would have hurt UT-Dallas since Southwestern beat them. I then would put the team that I feel has the best chance at getting an at-large selection into the 8th spot on Sunday.
Overall, the West Region RAC is doing a good job and my only complaint is that they are not as devious as me.
UPDATE – I plugged in the new ranked win/loss records with the changes to the regional rankings. La Verne is helped out slightly and goes from 4-6 to 5-6. Trinity and UMHB are hurt the most as Trinity goes from 7-5 to 5-5 and UMHB goes from 4-1 to 3-2. I still think the wise move was putting Southwestern in that spot and helping more teams.
In other news, Southwestern’s SOS took a big drop and their one advantage goes away. UT-Dallas got a nice bump from the WUSTL Tournament. It appears that the JWU (CO) matches are not being counted although I have them in my Watch List. For my final selection post I’ll have to remove them. I sure hope they also took them out of the SOS calculations!