Selection Eve – Thoughts

This morning the RACs are meeting to finalize the regional rankings that will be used for selection. Obviously, there are still tournaments going on so contingencies have to be factored in.  I will use this post all day to capture my thoughts as results come in and then this evening I will capture my thoughts as I go through the selection process. One problem is that I will be offline from around 10 a.m. central to about 3 p.m. (ish) in order to attend the Colorado Colorado / Southwestern SCAC Tournament Final. I really do enjoy watching all of the tournament finals but I enjoy my Pirates more.

Some things to remember when I start my selection process is that I don’t know the actual final regional rankings. I had to make some assumptions and if I get those wrong, I’m starting in a losing position. I try to keep these assumptions to a minimum but we have a couple of regions that are just a mess in my opinion based on matches this weekend. With regards to the ranked wins criterion, I use it as an indicator into the quality of wins a team has achieved and the quality of the teams played. I also take note of the “bad” losses a team has, which are losses to teams not ranked. Whether the selection committee does the same is up for debate but this is another area where I can get disagreements with the committee. The other major problem I have is that I don’t get to see the SOS that the committee uses. With all of the tournaments, the SOS can change and alter positioning. Last year I missed on 4 Pool C bids out of 20 and they were all because the selection committee valued lesser quality New England and New York teams more than I did. Most of that came down to how ranked wins was interpreted.

Here are some initial thoughts before leaving for the SCAC Final:

  • It’s quite possible that Southwestern will be moved into the 8th spot in the West Region rankings this morning. Their SOS has fallen but it will get a bump with playing Trinity and Colorado College. They only have two ranked wins (UT-Dallas and Trinity) and would have 9 ranked losses if they lose to Colorado College today. I don’t think they get an at-large but this would help a number of West Region teams as Southwestern lost to most of them.
  • I believe the Central Region will move Augsburg over Bethel. Augsburg has better ranked wins and two recent head-to-heads. Their records and SOS are almost a wash.
  • I believe the Great Lakes Region will drop Otterbein. My best guess is that DePauw and Muskingum will be ranked after Hope (for teams needing an at-large).
  • I believe the Mid-Atlantic will move Mary Washington in front of Franklin & Marshall. F&M have already lost in their conference tournament. They were regular season champions.
  • I’m keeping Carthage ahead of Concordia Wisconsin. This has been a strange ordering but the Midwest has stuck with it so I should, too.
  • New England is a mess. I have no clue on the ordering here.
  • I’m not too concerned with the New York and South Regions. After Ithaca and Berry/BSU I don’t see another at-large coming out of these regions.
  • As for the conference finals left to be played:
    • Pitt-Bradford vs Penn St – Behrend (#1 seed) – Winner dances, loser sits in the corner like I did all through high school.
    • Johns Hopkins (#2) vs McDaniel (#4) – McDaniel is on a roll but you would think Johns Hopkins wins this. I don’t see the loser getting an at-large bid.
    • Nazareth vs Stevens (#1) – It’s best if Stevens wins this as they are regionally ranked 2nd in the New York Region. The New York Region will fight like heck to get Stevens in if they lose this match.
    • Transylvania (#1) vs Rose-Hulman (#2) – No chance for the loser at an at-large.
    • Southern Vermont vs Eastern Nazarene (#1) – No chance for the loser at an at-large.
    • Bowdoin (#1) vs Amherst (#3) – Bowdoin is in regardless if they win or not. Amherst needs to win as they do not have a chance at an at-large.
    • Lancaster Bible vs Morrisville State (#1) – Loser has not chance at an at-large.
    • Berry (#1) vs Birmingham-Southern (#2) – I believe both teams are in the tournament regardless of this result.
    • Colorado College (#1) vs Southwestern (#3) – Colorado College is in regardless. Southwestern needs to win in order to dance.
  • From the above, the important finals if you are a bubble teams are Stevens, Bowdoin and Colorado College. If the underdog wins all three of these then there is a chance up to 3 at-large bids go away for bubble teams.
  • Finally, here are the teams that need an at-large bid that I can already say have one:
    • WUSTL
    • St. Benedict
    • Hope
    • Chicago
    • UW-Whitewater
    • Ithaca
    • Berry/BSU loser
    • Trinity
  • We have 19 bids and there goes 8 of them. I’ll spot check these again later. St. Thomas might be my favorite to go off the board next.

(4:30 p.m.)

  • I’m back at the house. Time to start looking at selection. Updates will be coming…
  • Looks like 17 regular season champions lost in their conference tournaments. 40% upset rate seems really high.
  • Of the 8 bids I gave out this morning, I’m keeping 7. Birmingham-Southern has a loss to Carthage so I want to see how that plays out for Carthage. So, 7 bids are done. I now start selection.
  • I went back and looked at the New England Region because it was bothering me. I’m going with MIT, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Tufts, Middlebury and Springfield. It’s not perfect but it’s my best guess based on the criteria.
  • I also adjusted the West Region and moved La Verne ahead of UT-Dallas. This is potentially huge. The criteria are close but ULV has a head-to-head win over UT-Dallas. The two ranked losses to UMHB for UTD did not help them.
  • OK, now I start selection.

(5:15 p.m.)

  • In case I haven’t mentioned it, Pool B bids go to Thomas More and Marymount.
  • First comparison starts now. I have St. Thomas, DePauw, Carnegie Mellon, Carthage, MIT, Stevens, Birmingham-Southern and Cal Lutheran as the first off the board after Pool A and Pool B bids.
  • Going through the teams and St. Thomas slides by everyone. Some are close calls. Their criteria is good and they have some great ranked wins. They are the first team to go through on my comparisons (after my no doubt teams).

(5:22 p.m.)

  • Augsburg (on my rankings) replaces St. Thomas and I start again.
  • I like Augsburg slightly more than Carnegie Mellon but MIT compares favorably to Augsburg. I check them against CMU and they lose out.
  • I change gears at Birmingham-Southern who compares better but then I go back to look at Carthage. Despite the head-to-head win by Carthage they lose out on the criteria to Birmingham-Southern.
  • Cal Lutheran does well against BSU but I’m taking Birmingham-Southern here. Lots of rounds left to worry about these close calls.

(5:28 p.m.)

  • Hendrix replaces Birmingham-Southern on my list. This might end up being Randolph-Macon but I really don’t like either team so it probably doesn’t matter.
  • Using my information from the last round, I take Carnegie Mellon and they pass the comparison test with everyone. They are in.
  • That is 10 spots of the 19 taken. Over half way!

(5:30 p.m.)

  • Mary Washington replaces Carnegie Mellon but this was a change I did. Franklin & Marshall could be up in the selection committee.
  • I’m back to the Augsburg / MIT issue. MIT has a better record and a slightly better SOS. I’m inclined to say the SOS is a wash as I know Augsburg should get a bigger bump than MIT when you factor in matches against Bethel and Gust. Adolphus. I carry Augsburg down my list.
  • I like Cal Lutheran as they compare to Augsburg. Worse record but better SOS and ranked wins against JWU and CMS. I compare Cal Lutheran against MIT and the ranked wins, SOS and JWU victory trump them. I’m taking the Regals this round.

(5:47 p.m.)

  • A little break while I got my Twitter game going. If you don’t follow me, you should at @D3VbWest.
  • La Verne comes in for Cal Lutheran. Remember, this is a change I made to the rankings. The RAC could have UT-Dallas.
  • OK, I still have Augsburg on the board and they just have to beat out La Verne.
  • Augsburg is in. They win the comparison and MIT has to be happy about that.
  • That’s 12 spots filled. Only 7 more to go.

(5:50 p.m.)

  • Bethel comes in for Augsburg and another great Central team has a chance for selection.
  • I’m struggling with the Bethel / DePauw comparison. Bethel’s ranked wins are lacking at this moment. I’ll take them both down the list for now.
  • Mary Washington compares better than both teams so now I take them down my list.
  • I get to MIT and Mary Washington compares favorably. I’m getting worried because I know New England has burned me in the past and maybe MIT was a poor choice (by me) to rank the highest needed an at-large.
  • I now look at both Wellesley and Wesleyan and both lose out. I’m now trying to figure out why I have Wellesley ahead of Wesleyan. They are close but I may need to reverse that order back.
  • I get through the list and Mary Washington is the pick, but I’m worried I messed something up. I had to move them ahead of Franklin & Marshall to even be considered. Let me look at F&M real quick.
  • It’s still Mary Washington in my mind. I have to trust the process but I’m seriously freaked out right now.
  • Here’s my issue. Mary Washington has an outstanding SOS and some really nice ranked wins but they are also 6-9 in ranked wins with a poor record. Will the committee look at the quality of teams or the record of ranked wins? I got to be true to myself, get your dancing shoes on Mary Washington.

(6:08 p.m.)

  • Franklin & Marshall replaces Mary Washington.
  • 6 more spots to fill.
  • F&M with a low SOS and poor ranked wins may spell the end to the Mid-Atlantic. Do you see how important it is for the regions to get the ordering right. If they keep F&M ahead of Mary Washington then MWU doesn’t make it (in my warped reality).
  • Carthage is still on the board and they just don’t compare well right now. Below average record, average SOS and poor ranked wins.
  • I’ve got Bethel and DePauw right now and I get to MIT. MIT’s average SOS and poor ranked wins is killing them. I’m going to have to come back to this in a second.
  • Stevens and Hendrix are just lacking so I’m not talking about them. They aren’t close right now.
  • La Verne is a problem for the West if ranked ahead of UT-Dallas. The Leopards lose a comparison with DePauw but UT-Dallas would win it. I would actually take UT-Dallas over Bethel due to better ranked wins an assuming their SOS is a wash.
  • Now I look at Wellesley and Wesleyan and both look to do better nationally than MIT.
  • I’m now moving Wesleyan ahead of Wellesley as I take my third look at their criteria.
  • Ugh, 20 minutes on this one!
  • MIT should be ranked ahead of both (now in order) Wesleyan and Wellesley so they are blocking the New England Region. Their Regional Chair is smarter than me at this game so she may have seen this and ranked them differently.
  • Another big “if” in my selection process is whether the Great Lakes Region moves DePauw up their list like I did.
  • I don’t want to make this selection.
  • The pick here DePauw but there are so many “what-ifs” around this pick. This only happens if they are moved into this position and La Verne is ranked above UT-Dallas and MIT is the top New England choice.
  • I’m going to look at the Great Lakes Region rankings again. Too many bad losses by DePauw. I may have moved them too high.
  • Approaching 40 minutes on this one pick. I think DePauw is ranked correctly in my mind. However, they have a number of bad losses which could hurt them in the real ranking. Just depends on what the RAC is thinking. I believe Muskingum would be ranked next as they have to be ahead of Otterbein. Here’s the thing, Muskingum probably gets in ahead of Mary Washington (the team I just picked).
  • The teams I’m looking at are Bethel, DePauw, Muskingum, MIT, Wesleyan and UT-Dallas. Keep in mind that three of those teams aren’t in my list for consideration but I’m trying to account for late rankings movement.
  • If I select MIT then the flood gates open for the New England Region.
  • One freaking hour on one pick. I think the New England Region is too strong in the selection committee to get this far without a pick. I’m taking MIT here. Let me be clear, since I don’t know the proper rankings, I’m having to rank each region and I know I’m going to be wrong.

(7:06 p.m.)

  • Wesleyan replaces MIT on the board.
  • Flood gates open, Wesleyan is the pick. Took me 2 minutes.

(7:10 p.m.)

  • Wellesley replaces Wesleyan on the board.
  • 4 more picks to go.
  • I think at this point the West Region (if they did move La Verne ahead of UT-Dallas) has to be scrambling. If I consider UT-Dallas then it takes out DePauw but they lose out to Wellesley. Remember I warned you about those flood gates. The record plus SOS combo for the New England Region wins out in these comparisons.
  • My pick here is Wellesley. Three New England teams in a row.

(7:22 p.m.)

  • I have Tufts on my list so they replace Wellesley.
  • 3 picks to go.
  • Starting from the top now…
  • Bethel and DePauw are problems for me. Is DePauw even here?
  • Franklin & Marshall losses out to both due to poor SOS and poor ranked wins.
  • Carthage ties both but their ranked wins are poor. Still I might take them over Bethel. I now have a love/hate relationship with DePauw.
  • Tufts has a shot. Four New England teams in a row?
  • Stevens and Hendrix are lacking.
  • The team that does the best is the one currently blocked by La Verne…UT-Dallas.
  • It’s at this point, I have to question my sanity.
  • Here’s what is going though my head…
    • I’ve got three picks left.
    • My bubble teams are Bethel, DePauw, Muskingum, Muhlenberg (I can’t get F&M in and they block this team), Carthage, Tufts (of course this could be Springfield or Middlebury in real life), La Verne and UT-Dallas (currently blocked in my world by La Verne).
    • That’s 8 teams for 3 spots.
    • Will the West only get 6 teams in the tournament? I don’t think so but which will it be – La Verne or UT-Dallas.
    • Can the Central Region get 5 at-large bids when they normally get 2?
    • Does the Midwest Region only get 2 at-large bids?
  • I am eliminating Tufts. I’m just not sure they will be there. I think they could get selected but the RAC hasn’t respected their latest wins. Played a tough schedule and could get burned by it.
  • The more I think on DePauw, the more they have to be ranked that high by Great Lakes Region. I’m back in love with them.
  • An hour for this pick, too. Yuck.
  • DePauw beats out Bethel in my mind. Bad losses for DePauw and ends with losses to UTD and Hiram. But, remember Whittier last year because DePauw fits that mold.
  • DePauw and La Verne’s records are about a wash. SOS for DePauw. Common opponent for La Verne (UTD). I like DePauw’s ranked wins so this pushes it to DePauw.
  • Here’s where my ignorance of the selection process kicks in. Can the West RAC Chair swap UTD over La Verne (or maybe UTD is ahead of La Verne like they were Wednesday) because UTD has record and head-to-head on DePauw.
  • Heck with it…taking DePauw. Shocking the world!

(8:39 p.m.)

  • Muskingum is now in for DePauw. Once again, this is based on my revised RAC Rankings.
  • 2 picks to go.
  • I’m taking La Verne here. One, I think the West RAC placed them ahead of UTD. If not then UTD is in and it would have been before DePauw. The comparison with Bethel is really close but I like the Leopards ranked wins better. Same with Muskingum. They beat F&M and actually have a head-to-head win on them. Carthage may be the hiccup here but I’m assuming two things:
    • The SOS will be a wash and the ranked wins push them over the top.
    • The selection committee wants another West Region team.

(8:51 p.m.)

  • UT-Dallas replaces La Verne.
  • Final pick!!!!
  • Here is who is left:
    • Bethel
    • Muskingum
    • Franklin & Marshall
    • Carthage
    • Tufts (more I think about it, the more it’s probably Springfield)
    • Stevens
    • Hendrix
    • UT-Dallas
  • Bethel and Muskingum are a toss up.
  • In some ways Franklin & Marshall are close. It’s just that their ranked wins are poor in my opinion. They are eliminated. Could their RAC have moved Muhlenberg ahead of them? Possible. F&M has a head-to-head but I like Muhlenberg’s ranked wins better. Muhlenberg would be pretty even with Bethel and Muskingum.
  • Carthage is in the mix, too. All of their losses are to regional ranked teams and most are making the tournament. They just didn’t beat enough of those good teams. Do you reward teams that played an easier schedule? In the past, the selection committee has and probably will here, too.
  • I’ve eliminated Tufts because I don’t think they will be there to be considered. Let me look at Springfield. I don’t like their ranked wins as much. They hang their hat on MIT and Wellesley. Well, I’m starting to have second thoughts on MIT. This is why there are gaps in my rundown tonight. I keep going back over things. Springfield could be ranked ahead of them. If so, then the MIT win isn’t very good. Still, they are in the mix.
  • Stevens and Hendrix are still out in my mind.
  • Newcomer UT-Dallas probably has the best ranked win in Trinity. They also have Cal Lutheran and DePauw (who I think will be ranked higher). I think they take out Carthage. If their SOS is considered a wash with Springfield, Bethel and they are already ahead of Muskingum then I think they get the bid.
  • Give me UT-Dallas. I know the West Region blog picks two West Region teams to close out the selection.

One final note for this rundown. I will now put together everything I have and make sure I didn’t mess up anywhere. I’m going to go back and look at this MIT / Springfield mess. I’m going to go back and look at Mary Washington. With UT-Dallas in, I am no longer going to look at DePauw. I may make changes to my final bids. Check back for the final prediction post later tonight!

Thanks for following along!


13 thoughts on “Selection Eve – Thoughts

  1. Good luck to Southwestern(TX)!

    Upset watch will be interesting and potentially significant. Southwestern(TX) vs Colorado college and Bowdoin vs Amherst upsets will change things. Ithaca! ugh!


  2. Wow! condolences on Southwestern looks like it was a great match. So no Bowdoin or Colorado College upset. Time for the final predictions.


    1. Thanks Ned. It was a great match. Lots of defense. The Tigers deserved it but Southwestern is one of the better teams in the West Region at this point in time. Of course, that doesn’t count.


  3. Hey rob, why do you have MIT>Wesleyan>Wellesley in NE? The last regionals ranking had Wesleyan>MIT>Wellesley and all 3 teams lost in semis since then. Or could tufts/Springfield/babson jump them?


  4. Klaabs, Sorry just saw this!

    I had to re-rank each region based on results this past week. I ended up with MIT, Wesleyan and Wellesley. (I swapped Wesleyan just a few minutes ago after looking at it again.) I looked at Middlebury and Springfield but they were blocked by Tufts (who I moved up). I COULD BE VERY WRONG!!!! I either use incorrect data published from week old data or do best guess.


  5. Thanks for doing this tonight! It was an enjoyable read. Hope you are right about DePauw, but they are a tough case. Terrible start to the season breaking in new players, but some really good wins and a strong strength of schedule. I think they are a tournament team, but the case can definitely be made to keep them out.

    I have a feeling Stevens will get in, even though I’m not convinced that would be the right decision.


  6. Thanks BHart. I really tried to keep DePauw out. Believe me I tried. They have a couple of really nice wins and their SOS plays in this criteria game. I also checked a number of times and if Great Lakes are getting 2 at-large bids then one is going to DePauw.


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