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Snap judgments: Finding clarity

Tyler Jenkins and the rest of the Rowan defense helped keep Morrisville State's prolific offense in check.
Rowan athletics file photo

In Friday’s Triple Take column, the panel was asked an important question about which conferences will be getting clarity after Saturday’s games.

Several conferences paid off.

With Division III squarely in the second half of the season, much of the discussion will be turning toward the playoffs -- which teams will get in and how deep they can make it. Before too long, we’ll be seeing the NCAA’s first batch of regional rankings come out, showing exactly who could be on the table for at-large (Pool C) bids and helping us to gauge how favorably the committee views teams for unofficial seeding. (Those who have been around D-III long enough know that any first round pairings based on expected or suspected seeds will get trumped by travel-cost considerations in many instances.)

While absolutely nothing is set in stone at this point, this weekend provided some great advances into how conferences are shaking out. This included some games that were certainly expected to be telling, as well as a couple that were surprise upsets and will change the landscape of a conference.

We knew these were going to be big

MIAC. St. John’s dealt Gustavus Adolphus its first loss of the season, giving particular credence to the reason why the Gusties were not being ranked in the Top 25. There was a lot of doubt about Gustavus, at least in the big picture of the conference’s growing strength, but starting the season with six straight wins legitimately keeps any team in the discussion. The Gusties have Bethel, Concordia-Moorhead and St. Thomas to finish out the season, so the path back into the playoff graces is a big one. Meanwhile, the four ranked teams in the MIAC still have lots of battling out to do, and the door is open for a Pool C bid from the conference runner-up.

ODAC. The only two teams who were still undefeated in conference play, Hampden-Sydney and Emory and Henry, met Saturday, and with a 22-point halftime lead en route to a 49-27 finish, it was clear H-SC was in control from start to finish. The Nash Nance-Holton Walker pairing delivered in a big way with 481 total passing yards, of which 285 went to Walker. The Tigers still have Shenandoah, Guilford and Bridgewater to get past, but beating E&H gave H-SC a huge lift toward its goals.

NJAC. Rowan knocked one of its prime competitors back a notch, having shutout Morrisville State and handing the surprisingly strong Mustangs only their second loss of the season (the first one being a nonconference tilt). Predicting how the NJAC will play out hasn’t been easy since the Beast of...

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Columnist

Ryan Tipps

Ryan is D3football.com's Senior Editor and begins as National Columnist in fall 2014. He was the Around the Mid-Atlantic Columnist from 2007 to 2011; has worked on all but one of the preseason Kickoff publications; has done game-day writing and photography and the pregame broadcast at the championship Stagg Bowl in Salem for almost a decade; and has taken photos at the Final Four for D3hoops.com. He's also on the selection staff for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.

2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.

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