The third regional rankings came out today and these are the first rankings that will have data that will actually drive selection. The selection committee will use the fourth set of rankings (which we won’t see until after selection) but the teams on this set will factor into the Ranked Wins. I normally do only a West review in this space but, SPOILER, there were not changes to the West regional rankings. I explain all this in my predictions so if you are curious about something in the west then go look there.
Here are the top 4 teams in each region:
Central: 1. St. Thomas, 2. St. Olaf, 3. Saint Benedict, 4. Augsburg
Great Lakes: 1. Calvin, 2. Muskingum, 3. Ohio Northern, 4. Transylvania
Mid Atlantic: 1. Johns Hopkins, 2. Susquehanna, 3. Carnegie Mellon, 4. Chris Newport
Midwest: 1. Chicago, 2. Carthage, 3. Eau Claire, 4. Stevens Point
New England: 1. Tufts, 2. Babson, 3. Wesleyan, 4. Wellesley
New York: 1. Clarkson, 2. Ithaca, 3. Stockton, 4: NYU
South: 1. Emory, 2. Berry, 3. Birmingham-Southern, 4. Randolph-Macon
West: 1. Trinity, 2. CMS, 3. Colorado College, 4. UT-Dallas
The teams being dropped from the rankings were Heidelberg (Central), Stevens (Mid-Atlantic), Springfield (New England), Montclair State (New York) and St. Lawrence (New York). That means that half of the regions kept the same number of teams from last week.
The new teams coming in that will now impact the Ranked Wins are Mount Union, Messiah, Emerson, Cortland and Rowan. The Mount Union insertion is the fun one to me because if you listened to my mock selection podcast, you know that I selected both Heidelberg and Mount Union even though Mount Union wasn’t publicly ranked.
We saw a new team at the top in the Central when they moved St. Thomas up from the 5th spot to replace St. Olaf. The Tommies had a great week and have actually beaten the next three teams in the rankings this season.
New York was the only other region to replace their top team when they moved Clarkson back into that spot and moved out Stockton (dropped to #3). Stockton had a loss to Kean during the past week and that had to have played a role.
The big news from the regional rankings was the absence of the Ranked Wins information for the second straight week. It’s clear now that this is being done on purpose to hide information that almost always plays a large role in the selection of the at-large teams. I really want this to be a mistake but two weeks running tells me differently. Not to mention, they could have gone back all week to update the data sheets but didn’t.
Before I forget, I need to update my SOS numbers as I don’t have access to these during the week. (More information the NCAA hides from us.) We are starting to see the big drops in SOS that I feared might happen. Cal Lutheran dropped 0.023 points down to 0.589. Chapman only lost 0.005 points. CMS lost 0.009 points. Colorado College actually gained 0.003 points. Trinity lost 0.005 points. UMHB lost 0.010 points. UT-Dallas was hurting before and now has suffered a 0.023 point drop down to 0.520. They have the lowest SOS of the regional ranked teams in the West. Whitworth also took a hit going down 0.017 points to 0.548.
Going briefly over the West rankings again with the new SOS numbers and they still seem correct. Here’s the thing, however, I don’t see UT-Dallas or Chapman getting selected for an at-large with those SOS numbers. UT-Dallas has a better chance because their ranked wins are better and you might be able to leverage their Stevens Point victory in the common opponent criterion. (On the flip side, their loss to Aurora could really hurt them.) When you factor in UMHB, they really have the best chance of the three in getting selected for an at-large but I agree in their placement. Still, if I’m the RAC Chair, I would do everything I can to move UMHB into that fourth spot in the final rankings. They can only slap your hands so much.