November 8, 2012

Week 10 playoff projection

Bethel and Concordia-Moorhead each lost last week. Would they still make our field if the season ended today?
Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com 

By Pat Coleman
D3sports.com

Last week's results shuffled the regional rankings and they shuffle this projection as well.

For some of the toss-up leagues, it doesn't matter who wins in terms of our projection. That's because the runner-up is not a threat to make the playoffs and the two (or three) competitors would all have similar potential seeds.

Keep in mind that the NCAA does not want to spring for more plane flights than it has to in the first round. With four teams that must fly anywhere they go, that's a minimum of two flights. That's what I've projected. Any distance of more than 500 miles requires the NCAA to pay for a flight. Everything else can be done by bus.

Here's how it looks.

Wesley is the only team that has nothing to worry about this weekend. They're the only one-loss team in Pool B and that loss is to the top team in the region. And they're off in Week 11. Literally, nobody else has margin for error. Rowan's strength of schedule isn't very strong and the Profs have two losses, but one is to a Division II school, so they make our field as one of the seven at-large teams. Elmhurst has one overall loss and a win against a regionally ranked team, so they make it in. Heidelberg doesn't have the best strength of schedule, but we are running out of one-loss teams at this point. Of the two-loss teams on the board, Huntingdon has the second-best strength of schedule and a win against a regionally ranked team, putting them in the field. Pacific Lutheran is next -- the Lutes have two losses and both are to regionally ranked teams, plus they have a .625 strength of schedule. That's five teams in.

From here it gets difficult -- the remaining one-loss team on the board is Ohio Wesleyan, and, NCAC tiebreaker craziness aside, OWU has a .511 SOS and no wins against regionally ranked teams. Lycoming has two losses and no wins against regionally ranked teams, either. Louisiana College has two losses and a lower SOS than Lycoming. Bethel, however, has a .585 SOS, 74 points higher than Ohio Wesleyan, and that's significant. Plus they have results against regionally ranked teams, which OWU does not. Bethel gets in. The last spot is up between these four teams: Lycoming, Ohio Wesleyan, Louisiana College and Concordia-Moorhead. 

Lycoming is 7-2 in-region, with a .531 strength of schedule and is 0-1 against regionally ranked opponents (loss to East No. 2). 
Ohio Wesleyan is 8-1, with a .511 strength of schedue and is 0-1 against regionally ranked opponents.
Louisiana College is 5-2, with a .505 strength of schedule and is 0-2 against regionally ranked opponents (losses to South No. 1 and No. 2).
Concordia-Moorhead is 6-2, with a .604 strength of schedule, and is 0-2* against regionally ranked opponents (losses to West No. 3 and No. 6). Fans who have been paying attention all season know why there's an asterisk here, and who knows if it will be taken into account.

There is one one-loss team remaining here, but OWU has played just one regionally ranked team (now unranked in the North) and has a relatively low SOS. Concordia-Moorhead has an SOS that is 73 points higher than Lycoming and 93 points higher than Ohio Wesleyan. That is a statistically huge difference, and from everything we've been told, it's more than enough to overcome one loss. So Concordia-Moorhead still getting into the field after last week seems unusual, but it's possible. I feel the Cobbers have the best resume of this group, even without the asterisk.

I take those eight teams and the 24 automatic bids and break them into the best four groups of eight possible to create our brackets. With a potential of four teams in Minnesota, and one of those on the North Dakota border, the travel in the westernmost group is really difficult. That, and keeping the three MIAC teams from matching up in the first round made our Linfield bracket tricky.

Last year, remember, the NCAA threw us a wrinkle in the bracket, with shuffled pairings in the national quarterfinals. This bracket doesn't address that but as we get closer to Selection Sunday, I'll take a look at some of the more interesting possibilities.

Mount Union bracket

No. 8 USA South champ at No. 1 Mount Union
No. 5 Salisbury at No. 4 Cortland State

No. 7 ECFC champ at No. 2 Hobart
No. 6 Rowan at No. 3 Widener

The ECFC champ probably should be traveling to Mount Union but the distance is more than 500 miles. This way Hobart gets a team that really could be an eighth-seed even though it doesn't get a top seed in our projected bracket.

UW-Oshkosh bracket

No. 8 Concordia-Moorhead at No. 1 UW-Oshkosh
No. 5 Adrian at No. 4 Wittenberg

No. 7 Bethel at No. 2 Concordia-Chicago
No. 6 North Central (Ill.) at No. 3 Heidelberg

Either Adrian or Wittenberg can get to UW-Oshkosh for a second-round game in under 500 miles. (And if Concordia-Moorhead wins, that's not our problem -- the NCAA finance people only focus on the first round.) And this is a bracket where all four home teams could lose.

Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket

No. 8 St. Scholastica at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor
No. 5 Franklin at No. 4 Waynesburg

No. 7 NEFC Champ at No. 2 Wesley
No. 6 Washington and Lee at No. 3 Johns Hopkins

We have five "island teams" and we can take care of them in the first round with just two flights. One of them is taking the lowest seeded team that's available and sending them to Mary Hardin-Baylor. The rest of this is fairly self-explanatory.

Linfield bracket

No. 7 Pacific Lutheran at No. 1 Linfield
No. 5 Huntingdon at No. 4 Cal Lutheran

No. 8 Lake Forest at No. 2 St. Thomas
No. 6 Coe at No. 3 Elmhurst

Back when the NCAA used to put seedings on the bracket, it used to be common to see shuffled numbers such as these. Those who are new to Division III may not have seen seedings before but they exist. 

Meanwhile, I'm not sure we need a second version of this bracket, because this is pretty true to the seedings. If the NCAA decides it needs to avoid the PLU-Linfield matchup in the first round, it could put Huntingdon on a charter flight to Linfield and Pacific Lutheran down to Cal Lutheran but that would be three flights instead of two.

Many teams are mobile in this bracket. Widener or Rowan or Salisbury could swap with Johns Hopkins or Washington and Lee fairly easily without causing too many travel issues. Losing Wabash from the field and adding Pacific Lutheran makes this easier to line up. 

None of this takes into account what might happen if Widener, Waynesburg or Cal Lutheran fail to clinch their automatic bid. Waynesburg, with a really low strength of schedule, is not guaranteed an at-large bid with one loss, while a two-loss Cal Lutheran would probably get in because of its head-to-head win against Pacific Lutheran.

We will do this one final time Saturday night, once we know all of the automatic bids.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 31, at N.C. Wesleyan 28
Box Score
Sep. 19: All times Eastern
Final
Framingham State 29, at Fitchburg State 26
Box Score Recap
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
Final
RPI 41, at Castleton State 13
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at Massachusetts Maritime 26, Maine Maritime 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Rochester 30, Gallaudet 2
Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Husson 34, Alfred State 28
Box Score
Final
at Randolph-Macon 34, Sewanee 20
Box Score
Final
at Johns Hopkins 33, Moravian 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 20, Frostburg State 12
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Alfred 29, at Buffalo State 21
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Catholic 31, Newport News Apprentice 24
Box Score
Final
at Nichols 10, Becker 3
Box Score
Final
Wesleyan 22, at Middlebury 14
Box Score
Final
Bridgewater State 51, at Worcester State 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Tufts 24, Hamilton 17
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Amherst 14, Bates 6
Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 32, Colby 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at William Paterson 36, Salve Regina 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 20, Lebanon Valley 14
Box Score
Final
Allegheny 24, at Hiram 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Merchant Marine 34, SUNY-Maritime 17
Box Score
Final
at St. Vincent 23, Case Western Reserve 20
Box Score
Final
Thomas More 66, at Thiel 27
Box Score Recap
Final
Ursinus 31, at Franklin and Marshall 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Endicott 41, at Kean 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 56, Coast Guard 0
Box Score
Final
Maryville (Tenn.) 40, at Averett 17
Box Score
Final
at Widener 41, Albright 23
Final
Hobart 43, at Curry 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Greensboro 37, LaGrange 35
Box Score
Final
at Dickinson 29, Susquehanna 28
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 37, Rowan 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Lawrence 31, Morrisville State 14
Box Score
Final
at Misericordia 35, FDU-Florham 0
Final
at Gettysburg 31, Juniata 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Montclair State 27, Lincoln (Pa.) 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Wabash 31, at Denison 12
Box Score
Final - OT
Bethany 21, at Westminster (Pa.) 14
Final
at Springfield 47, Mount Ida 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 42, Hartwick 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Norwich 10, WPI 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Iowa Wesleyan 13, at Minnesota-Morris 7
Box Score
Final
at Methodist 41, Huntingdon 34
Box Score
Final
Ohio Northern 37, at Baldwin Wallace 35
Box Score
Final
at Capital 34, Wilmington 21
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin 62, at Anderson 14
Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 48, Carnegie Mellon 30
Box Score Recap
Final
at John Carroll 43, Heidelberg 16
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Lycoming 28, King's 13
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at Waynesburg 44, Geneva 38
Final
Mount Union 62, at Muskingum 6
Box Score
Final
Mount St. Joseph 24, at Defiance 21
Box Score
Final
at Manchester 55, Earlham 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Williams 36, Bowdoin 0
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
Muhlenberg 59, at McDaniel 10
Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 48, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Otterbein 20, Marietta 0
Box Score
Final
Hope 25, at Lakeland 22
Box Score
Final
Olivet 49, at Aurora 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Albion 57, at Concordia (Wis.) 20
Box Score
Final
at Washington U. 24, North Park 19
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wisconsin Lutheran 32, Kalamazoo 20
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 17, UW-Eau Claire 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 23, at St. John's 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Bethel 40, St. Olaf 0
Box Score
Final
Augsburg 42, at Carleton 14
Box Score
Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 48, Hamline 19
Box Score
Final
Stetson 37, at Birmingham-Southern 19
Box Score
Final
Trinity (Texas) 14, at Sul Ross State 6
Box Score
Final
at Austin 21, Occidental 12
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Howard Payne 38, Southwestern Assemblies 25
Final
at Central 65, Maranatha Baptist 12
Box Score Recap
Final
at Luther 49, Grinnell 21
Box Score
Final
UW-Stevens Point 37, at Coe 21
Box Score
Final
at Greenville 30, Eureka 27
Box Score
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 27, at MacMurray 21
Box Score
Final
Texas Lutheran 38, at Louisiana College 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Simpson 13, Illinois Wesleyan 3
Box Score
Final
Trine 27, at Rockford 7
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
Rose-Hulman 48, at Hanover 42
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western Connecticut 45, Plymouth State 7
Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 37, at Wayland Baptist 23
Box Score
Final
at Whittier 23, Lewis and Clark 10
Box Score
Final
Willamette 42, at Cal Lutheran 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Alma 24, at Concordia-Chicago 21
Box Score
Final
Carroll 28, at Lake Forest 7
Box Score
Final
Whitworth 50, at La Verne 48
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Westfield State 14, at Mass-Dartmouth 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 48, Crown 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 34, DePauw 17
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
St. John Fisher 36, at Brockport State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Guilford 35, at Southern Virginia 27
@ Salem Stadium
Box Score Recap
Final
Wooster 63, at Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at Shenandoah 45, Ferrum 20
Box Score Photos
Final
Centre 28, at Washington and Lee 23
Box Score
Final
at Ohio Wesleyan 35, Kenyon 25
Box Score
Final
at Delaware Valley 54, Wilkes 35
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-River Falls 43, at South Dakota Mines 28
Box Score
Final
at Augustana 34, Loras 17
Final
at Dubuque 16, Pacific 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 28, UW-Platteville 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Chicago 29, at Elmhurst 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 41, at UW-La Crosse 22
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at South Dakota State 41, UW-Oshkosh 3
Box Score
Final
Adrian 23, at Benedictine 6
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wartburg 45, UW-Stout 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 41, Martin Luther 27
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 58, Southwestern 34
Box Score
Final
Rhodes 42, at Pomona-Pitzer 21
Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 36, at Redlands 3
Box Score Recap Photos
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
Final
St. John Fisher 36, at Brockport State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 34, DePauw 17
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wartburg 45, UW-Stout 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at South Dakota State 41, UW-Oshkosh 3
Box Score
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 28, UW-Platteville 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 41, at UW-La Crosse 22
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Linfield 36, at Redlands 3
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Whitewater 48, at TCNJ 0
Final
Mount Union 62, at Muskingum 6
Box Score
Final
at John Carroll 43, Heidelberg 16
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Lycoming 28, King's 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 37, Rowan 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 56, Coast Guard 0
Box Score
Final
Wabash 31, at Denison 12
Box Score
Final
Thomas More 66, at Thiel 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 42, Hartwick 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 43, at Curry 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Johns Hopkins 33, Moravian 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Bethel 40, St. Olaf 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 17, UW-Eau Claire 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Simpson 13, Illinois Wesleyan 3
Box Score

What We're Reading