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.