Playoff projection

Better a little later in the week than never, right? This seemed so simple a few days ago, until I got hung up on balancing the brackets, and trying to give Delaware Valley an appropriate first-round matchup, and trying to figure out what to do with the 10 South teams … etc.

I decided instead of spending a lot of text explaining who plays whom since the seedings and travel and conference rematches don’t always line up, I would just create a darn bracket. So here, download the projected bracket and see what we’re talking about.

And now the concept. In order to do this, you have to project some winners and not necessarily others. We have to consider the worst-case geographic scenario of Maine Maritime beating Endicott for the NEFC title — if Endicott wins, we have a tad more flexibility.

Muhlenberg to the Mount Union bracket is done to create more reasonable matchups in that group of eight. Otherwise, with Maine Maritime basically locked into playing SUNY-Maritime, and Cortland State and Rowan not able to play each other in the first round because they’re in the same conference, it made the first-round matchups too unfair (aka, Rowan at Delaware Valley). Swapping Rowan and Muhlenberg between brackets gives us a little more room to work. Rowan gets the home game it’s supposed to get according to the regional rankings. And the NCAA doesn’t care so much about a rematch of teams that met in non-conference games in the regular season.

I really wanted Benedictine to be playing UW-Whitewater in the first round but couldn’t find a suitable team to move to the St. Thomas bracket in Benedictine’s place. The Indiana teams can’t get to St. Thomas geographically. St. Norbert could go there but I can’t get Hanover to Wartburg, should Hanover win the HCAC on Saturday.

Pool B in our projections:

Pool C, in order of selection:
Ohio Northern

Left on the board:
Illinois Wesleyan, Ursinus, Coe. (Montclair State never gets to the board as Rowan is the last one in.)

Why Rowan instead of Montclair? First things first, of course, the NCAA has them ranked that way. Do I think that’s correct? No. But things aren’t going to get any better for Montclair.

Some reasons (other than politics) as to how Rowan could be ahead of Montclair State at this point in time.

  • In a three-way triangle, sometimes it’s all about “what have you done for me lately” and Montclair is the last to lose.
  • For a committee that cited some really non-standard criteria for choosing W&J over St. Norbert last year, I considered that Montclair played Westfield State out of conference while Rowan played Lycoming. Significant difference.
  • If last quarter of the season is considered … well, see bullet point 1

This could always change around on Saturday night, once the NJAC’s champion is officially crowned. At that point, the NCAA could (should) really consider ranking the other two NJAC teams in the order of their head-to-head contest.

There is more to say, but I’ll have to add in the comments later. Have to move on to other stuff for a little while. Questions, fire away. Hopefully I’ve hit some of the big ones already.

15 thoughts on “Playoff projection

  1. I don’t understand why the committee would want to set up a possible UW Whitewater vs. North Central matchup in round 2. If they want to give Whitewater a #1 seed, why not move North Central into the West instead of Wheaton? Put St. Thomas and North Central on opposite sides of the West, and match up NCC vs. Benedictine and St. Thomas vs. St. Norbert in round 1 to save on travel costs. Whitewater and Mt. Union each get a clear number one seed, while the four other possible number one seeds (St. Thomas, North Central, Mary Hardin Baylor and Wesley)) each get half a region.

  2. If Hampden-Sydney is chosen as a Pool C before Rowan, wouldn’t it make sense for Hampden-Sydney to HOST Rowan?

  3. nccfan — yeah, I fixed that already, in fact, on UWW/North Central.

    “Whitewater and Mt. Union each get a clear number one seed, while the four other possible number one seeds (St. Thomas, North Central, Mary Hardin Baylor and Wesley)) each get half a region.”

    That seems appropriate, doesn’t it?

    Algernon — I struggled with that for a while but Rowan was higher in its region than Hampden-Sydney was, and that seems to be a better indicator of what the NCAA will do when moving teams around.

  4. Hey guys – the pdf doesn’t go to download, it wants to load a page and install missing plugins. Any chance you can get that fixed before the official bracket comes out Sunday? (Running Fedora 12 with Mozilla Firefox 3.5.15. Thanx.

  5. The two things that stood out for me with this bracket: (1) the possibility of Rowan going to Texas in the second round, and (2) Trine has a tough draw for being an undefeated team.

  6. Question: If MUC & Wesley make it to the bracket finals which team will play at home. I’m assuming Mount, but I better not assume.


  8. As a Mule fan, I can dig a rematch with DelVal, but I’d rather not be in the Mount Union bracket (though if we win, our second round opponent would be a better chance for a win than a second round opponent in the South). I put them in the South bracket, and since I have Coe in Pool C instead of Hampden-Sydney, that gives me a little more leeway. I originally had Muhlenberg facing Thomas More, but that’s over 500 miles away. Washington & Lee, however, isn’t. So after shuffling the matchups, this is my South bracket:

    USA South winner at Wesley
    Muhlenberg at Salisbury (either team could host, I suppose, but the Gulls are ahead in the South)
    Washington & Lee at Thomas More
    Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor

    Coe also allows some flexibility in the West, where I kept Whitewater in-region:

    St. Norbert at Wisconsin-Whitewater
    Coe at St. Thomas
    Bethel at Wartburg
    Linfield at Cal Lutheran

    East is almost the same, save Rowan replacing Muhlenberg:

    St. Lawrence at Mount Union (I really wanted to put Wesley here, but that didn’t work out)
    Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
    Alfred at Cortland State
    Rowan at Delaware Valley

    With Whitewater out West, that leaves North Central at the top of the North:

    Benedictine at North Central
    Wittenberg at DePauw
    Trine at Wheaton
    HCAC winner at Ohio Northern

  9. David,

    That certainly works if Coe gets in. But Coe’s SOS is going to take a big nosedive this week (under .500) and I didn’t think they would get in ahead of H-SC.

  10. I guess I do not understand how only 2 teams make it into the tourney from the West coast. There are teams with 8-1 records who are very deserving ( U of Redlands for one) and could have a great 1stround with U of Redlands vs Cal Luth and Lindfield vs PLU….saves the NCAA money and allows these teams a deserving shot….also allows for some parity in the field and represent the West….

  11. It is clearly unfortunate that a 5-5 team and a 6-4 team get included in a tourney where there are so many 8-1, 9-1 teams who deserved to be considered and placed in a bracket. There are guidelines/policies – that the NCAA follows, but at some point common sense/logic needs to prevail. Ok, onto to basketball…

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