Don’t Read This!

* You know that you should read everything I post on this website. Then, re-read it. Then tell all your friends about it and have then read it. Then read it to your friend. Then bring it to your D3VbWest Fan Club and have everyone go around the room reading a sentence at a time. You know that. But, with this post, don’t read it. Only read it if you are a fan of one of the NCAA at-large bubble teams. Or, if you love to dive into data like I do. Everyone else should just stop now. I get a little crazy with data down below. I love this stuff. You should leave now. *

I really thought that today, after my data dump yesterday, would be calm and I would just enjoy the matches. Take some “me” time. Eat the bag and half of candy that was left from last night. Maybe vomit later. In short, a perfect day. Then “Ned” sends me this really cool spreadsheet of selection criteria data and I start to write.

I’m going to use this data to look at our bubble teams and do some quick comparisons against bubble teams from other regions. From my mock selection last week, I have an idea of the teams that will be there in the end. Matches have been played since then so things change but that’s why I have Ned’s data.

First off, let’s agree that our West bubble teams are #6 UT-Dallas, #7 La Verne and #8 TBD. I know that Whittier was ranked 8th but I just don’t see them having a chance so let’s expand that to Chapman and Whitworth/PLU. In case you missed it from last night, Whitworth had a clear track to the NWC title and a Pool A bid but lost to Whitman. That loss put PLU in the driver’s seat and they now have a clear path to the Pool A bid. But, road matches in the NWC often don’t go the way we think so let’s consider both teams. I have mentioned Southwestern in the past for the 8th spot but that was only to help our other West teams gain ranked wins since the Pirates lost to most of our teams. The West RAC decided not to do that and I don’t believe Southwestern has a chance at selection if they are the 8th team so I’m not going to bother.

Name D3 W D3 L D3 win % SOS RW RL R %
Texas-Dallas 21 8 .724 .574 3 6 .333
La Verne 18 10 .643 .579 4 6 0.4
Whittier 16 12 0.571 0.588 4 9 0.308
Chapman 19 7 0.731 0.534 2 5 0.286
Pacific Lutheran 17 3 0.85 0.561 0 1 0
Whitworth 17 5 0.773 0.556 0 3 0

There is our data but we are obviously missing head-to-head and common opponent. We also have no insight into the quality of the ranked wins or losses.

When we look at UT-Dallas and La Verne we can see UTD has an advantage in record and the SOS is almost identical. La Verne has a head-to-head but I would give the ranked win advantage to UTD as they beat Trinity. Finally, I don’t believe common opponent does enough to change this outcome so we can see that the RAC’s ordering is good between just these two teams.

Looking at the SCIAC teams, La Verne has the record advantage over Whittier and the SOS is a wash. Split head-to-head but I would give the ranked win advantage to La Verne (UTD win). I would also give common opponent to La Verne as they have a better record in the SCIAC. With Chapman, La Verne has an SOS advantage and I give them a ranked win advantage, too. Chapman only has record as they split their head-to-head. No common opponent advantage. So, again, good job RAC.

What about Whittier and Chapman? Whittier has SOS while Chapman has record. They split their head-to-head but common opponent goes to Chapman. Ranked wins probably goes to Whittier due to their UMHB win so these two teams tied. Common sense tells you to put Chapman over Whittier because they played 16 matches in the same conference and Chapman finished 3rd and Whittier finished 6th. But, common sense is not an NCAA selection criteria.

With Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth, PLU comes out on top because they have the better record. SOS is a wash as are the other criteria. PLU loses out to UT-Dallas and La Verne primarily because of their lack of ranked wins. The tricky part is that PLU should be ahead of Chapman but behind Whittier! So, when you look at only Whittier, Chapman and PLU you have a standoff. Logically, you can see why the RAC took Whittier but in my mind they are eliminated by the team ahead of them in the SCIAC and PLU takes down Chapman. My #8 is PLU. With regards to Whitworth, they just come out on the short side of every team mentioned primarily due to their lack of ranked wins. They do have some slight record and SOS advantages but they are so close that they will probably be considered a wash.

Based on the regional rankings from the other regions and my work in my mock selections, I can identify the other bubble teams (with their regional rank) to be:

  • Central – Augsburg (6) & Wartburg (7)
  • Great Lakes – Otterbein (6)
  • Mid-Atlantic – Franklin & Marshall (4)
  • Midwest – Carthage (6)
  • New England – Wellesley (5) & Babson (6)
  • New York – RIT (3)
  • South – Hendrix (4)
Name D3 W D3 L D3 win % SOS RW RL R %
Augsburg 21 7 0.75 0.572 3 4 0.429
Wartburg 17 11 0.607 0.595 2 8 0.2
Otterbein 19 8 0.704 0.596 3 6 0.333
Franklin & Marshall 23 6 0.793 0.55 5 4 0.556
Carthage 20 8 0.714 0.587 4 8 0.333
Wellesley 19 5 0.792 0.608 5 5 0.5
Babson 19 5 0.792 0.604 4 4 0.5
RIT 26 4 0.867 0.557 3 3 0.5
Hendrix 16 6 0.727 0.516 2 4 0.333

First things first, I’m not updating the ranked wins/losses based on who were added and dropped this week. Just deal with it. I also don’t know how many at-large spots are available at this point (if this were a true selection)…I assume around 5.

Looking at the group with an eye towards their records, we see that RIT and Pacific Lutheran have healthy advantages here. La Verne, Whittier and Wartburg bring up the bottom of the group. Looking at SOS and we have those pesky New England teams, Otterbein, Wartburg, Whittier and Carthage. Chapman and Hendrix bring up the rear in this criterion. With ranked wins (not looking at percentage), we see that PLU and Whitworth are dead in the water as they have none. They will lose this criterion to everyone. Before I dive deeper into ranked wins and individual schedules, let’s start some comparisons of the West Region teams against the rest of the bubble teams.

UT-Dallas is up first. Right off the bat I can see that Wellesley has a record and SOS advantage so it will be hard to bump them. One spot taken. Exact same problem with the next team up in New England (Babson). Two spots taken.

Here is the next team up from New England:

Middlebury 16 5 0.762 0.6 3 5 0.375

And now New England has taken three of my possible 5 spots because again their record and SOS can’t be overcome by UT-Dallas. Also remember, that I’m not comparing the New England teams to other bubble teams…we may already be out of spots!

Next up in New England (if I assume Springfield will get a Pool A bid):

Tufts 15 9 0.625 .646 4 8 0.333

That’s a great SOS but we have a record we can compete against.

Other than Hendrix, I really don’t see a team that UTD beats out easily. They are all close. In this group I probably like Augsburg and UTD’s ranked wins the best. This assumes the selection committee won’t just use a straight percentage with this criterion. If they do then we just need to give all of the at-large bubble spots to the larger regions. Let’s go ahead and give this spot to UT-Dallas to save time. I may only have one spot left at this point.

La Verne is up next for the West but with poor record, which might get worse since they play CMS tonight, they have to hope they “tie” in SOS and their ranked wins carry them. I don’t see that happening in this exercise. I’m giving the last spot to Augsburg.

So, what just happened? A very quick selection process with possible bubble teams and maybe 90% accurate since I did some things by memory (common opponent and ranked wins). The result is just 7 West Region teams in the tournament. Now, if La Verne can upset CMS tonight but let’s say lose in the finals, their record still goes down but they improve their ranked wins (and SOS). Maybe that helps because they would have one of the best ranked wins in the nation at that point.

The big lesson out of all of this is that it’s hard to get selected with a pedestrian record and pedestrian SOS. Most national comparisons will center on those two criterion with ranked wins thrown in. Maybe you get lucky and have a head-to-head or common opponent but more than likely this isn’t happening. Certainly the New England and New York Regions aren’t going to travel to make this happen.

Remember that UT-Dallas at-large bid? Well, it may not happen. If they need the bid it means they have lost two more matches because the ASC plays a double-elimination format and this means their record is about to drop more than any other team in the nation because they all play single-elimination. Frankly, I’m not sure they get in unless they get a big bump in their SOS from playing UMHB twice.

On the flip side, if you want the West to get the most teams in then root for UT-Dallas in the ASC, Southwestern* in the SCAC and Chapman/La Verne in the SCIAC. We’ll get at-large bids for CMS, Trinity, Colorado College, UMHB and I believe Cal Lutheran. Throw in the NWC winner and it gives us 9 teams. Six to nine teams is the range with the most likely case being the six or maybe seven. Told you not to read this!

* Sure you could root for Dallas, Centenary or Austin College but then I wouldn’t like you…at least until Sunday evening.

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