Well, now that the dust has settled at Swarthmore, we can share our Pool C predictions. The writers at D3soccer.com don’t all agree on all of this, but we are on the same page generally (so to speak). It is always a challenge to replicate the conditions of the committee and their parameters, but we think the following teams most deserve a shot at San Antonio.
Our scenarios assume that UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater will grab the two available Pool B berths.
These are locks:
Wash U (UAA)
These are highly likely:
William Paterson (NJAC)
So that is 8 out of 17. It gets trickier from here:
Johns Hopkins (Centennial) – the Centennial should get the benefit of the doubt after last year’s snub of Dickinson and Muhlenberg. No such dilemma this year as Hopkins is the best next option after finalists Muhlenberg and Swarthmore.
North Carolina Wesleyan (USA South) – At No. 5 in the South Atlantic they were ahead of Montclair State coming into the week, and a conference final loss to Christopher Newport shouldn’t change that.
Macalester (MIAC) – 4-1-0 record versus ranked teams, but perhaps the weakest of the “likely” choices.
Now we have 11. 6 more to count.
Bubble teams – our bias is that these teams are in, but also on the edge:
Merchant Marine (Landmark) – Not sure they or Drew are post-season material, but given Drew was No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic coming into the week, we think one of them gets in. Merchant Marine won the head-to-head Landmark semifinal which we think pulled them even with Drew and could be the tie-breaker even though Drew won the regular season match.
Oneonta (SUNYAC) – Neck and neck with Hamilton, but Hamilton’s semifinal Liberty league loss to St. Lawrence dropped their record versus ranked teams to 1-2-0 while Oneonta is 2-2-2 with their tie in the SUNYAC semifinal.
Mary Hardin-Baylor (ASC) – Had six matches versus regionally ranked teams, going 3-3-0 while UC Santa Cruz went 1-1-1 in three such matches. MHB edges Santa Cruz despite the ASC semifinal loss this weekend.
Calvin (MIAA) – They edge Kenyon and Hamilton for one of the final spots on the basis of superior record versus ranked teams (3-2-0).
Heidelberg (OAC) – Despite their OAC final OT loss to ranked Ohio Northern, we think they nose ahead of Kenyon who lost to unranked Denison in the NCAC semifinals. But could go either way as they have vey similar numbers and were No. 2 to No. 3 in the Great Lakes region.
Eastern Connecticut (LEC) – Not sure it’s deserved but we think the New England region, which is never underrepresented, will get a fourth berth.
So there are our 17. Here are those teams on the edge that we think will be left out of the bracket.
Bubble Teams left out:
Hamilton (Liberty) – just edged by Oneonta – see comments above.
UC-Santa Cruz (Independent) – Not sure Santa Cruz’s win over a NAIA program combined with Mary Hardin-Baylor’s ASC semifinal loss to eventual champion UT-Tyler is enough for the Slugs, starting at No. 4 in the West, to edge MHB who was No. 2 in the region.
Drew (Landmark) – pushed out by conference rival Merchant marine – see comments above.
Kenyon (NCAC) – pushed out by Calvin – see comments above.
Just don’t have enough to to be considered:
Brockport (SUNYAC) – just too low a strength of schedule to really compete for a berth with a so-so 1-1-1 record versus ranked teams.
Wheaton (CCIW) – way too many blemishes on their record, but ranked No. 4 in the Central due to the weakness of the region and their high strength-of-schedule; they were 2-5-2 versus ranked teams.
Carnegie Mellon (UAA) – perhaps good enough, but too deep in the UAA to get in.
Montclair State (NJAC) – eight blemishes is a lot even with a high strength-of-schedule.
Salisbury (CAC) – we can’t understand them having been ranked only No. 8 in the South Atlantic (probably down to being only 1-2-2 versus ranked teams), but that was always going to be hard to overcome this week without winning the CAC title and AQ in the process. Two ties going to PKs wasn’t enough.
So what do you think? Give us your thoughts, and we’ll see how good we really are at 2 p.m. ET on Monday.
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