Lancaster Bible: Go undefeated or go home

We have arrived at an interesting crossroads in Division III men’s basketball. Every year there are good teams who need to win their conference tournaments to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. But this year, we see a very good team who actually has to win their conference tournament just to make sure they go undefeated.

Over the last few seasons we have commented, argued, lamented, and even shaken our heads that Albertus Magnus would have to win their conference to get into the NCAA Tournament despite two or three losses. But we also understood it. Teams like Albertus Magnus, Southern Vermont, PSU-Behrend, St. Vincent, Northwestern (Minn.) and others who have been nationally ranked need to prove themselves outside of their conference and usually stumble at that task. These teams are all losing usually their third game in a conference tournament (or championship) which everyone tends to agree is the death nail.

But to lose your first game in the conference tournament and not get in? How did we get here?

I am not sure I know where to put a finger on it, but we can certainly start pointing at when the Strength of Schedule (SOS) numbers started to be trusted and more of the old guard who leaned heavily on win-loss percentage (WL) started to rotate off committees. After what had been a horrific experience with the Quality of Wins Index, the SOS was born and evolved, but it wasn’t trusted. Why would you trust another strength metric when the previous one had gone down in flames? But as the SOS evolved and people better understood how it worked and it more importantly proved to be consistent, those on committees started to buy in. The moment we should have realized the SOS was going to play a major role a few years ago when the men (and other committees around Division III) decided to add in a multiplier for home and away games.

The evolution of the multiplier was because some coaches either for a long time had been parking themselves at home, acting like a dictator, making sure anyone who wanted to play them out of conference came to their gym. Or coaches figured out that it would be easier for them to not travel and instead play at home to bolster their SOS – less risk. This resulted in a few years where the SOS wasn’t adding up to what everyone knew and felt about teams and schedules and it was giving some teams a major advantage to remain at home for both weekends of the NCAA Tournament (thanks to the inflated SOS they had built without leaving their gym in the first place). The multiplier was added and it quickly made an impact. Sure, it was heavy handed at first with 1.4 for road games and .60 for away games, but that was soon adjusted to 1.25 and .75. But no matter, the multiplier and thus the SOS shook up Division III basketball. (It also coincided with more games being counted as in-region and that helped bolster scheduling as well.)

As the SOS gained momentum and trust, it also started to take over conversations on Regional Advisory Committees (RAC) and on the national level. Soon we all could see teams seemed to be ranked higher more because of their SOS than their WL. But we also saw the internal fights not only on the RACs, but between RACs when one region might rank more heavily on SOS because those on the committee trusted it more and another region which clearly was leaning on WL because there were members who didn’t want the WL to lose importance. This was all seemingly without caring for the other criteria.

Then a few years ago we started hearing about a way that at least the national committee was trying to work to understand the differences between SOS and WL. What does it mean to be 20-2 with an SOS of .510 versus being 17-5 with an SOS of .570? There was no way to grade those two. The committees were left with trying to understand an SOS number they trusted but couldn’t truly breakdown across regions, between conferences, and head-to-head with teams. Thus the .030 SOS difference to 2-games ratio emerged. Groundbreaking. Criteria-shifting. An ah-ha moment in Division III basketball.

Now the committees had a measuring stick to compare teams with. Even if it didn’t give them a deciding factor, it did give them a way to lean if it was obvious. Now a team that was 20-2 with a .510 could be adjusted to roughly a 16-6 while the 17-5 team with a .570 could be adjusted to 21-1 when compared to the other team’s SOS. (20-2 w/.510 = 16-6 w/.570; 17-5 w/.570 = 21-1 w/.510).

At first they didn’t extrapolate out from .030=2 to .060=4 and beyond. We were told last year and years before that the math seemed to get fuzzy drawing that particular straight a line. But this year the committee seems to be clearly drawing that line.

And that’s how we have gotten to looking at Lancaster Bible who has a .422 SOS, being undefeated, and not even regionally ranked in the East (not one of the more difficult regions to be ranked). The SOS has taken on a significant role despite the fact none of the criteria is supposed to be prioritized. LBC’s SOS sticks out like a sore thumb. It is hard to ignore.

Lancaster Bible celebrated going 25-0, but will need to go 27-0 to make the NCAA Tournament. (Lancaster Bible athletics photo)

Lancaster Bible celebrated going 25-0, but will need to go 27-0 to make the NCAA Tournament. (Lancaster Bible athletics photo)

Just to get LBC regionally ranked in the first place means comparing them to SUNY Geneseo who sits sixth this week. Here is the breakdown (using data the RAC and national committee would have been looking at through Sunday):

LBC:                       21-0 or 1.000 (in-region/D3)                       1-0 vRRO             .422 SOS              24-0 (overall)
Geneseo:            17-7 or .708 (in-region/D3)                          2-4 vRRO             .536 SOS              17-8 (overall)

If we only go by the .030=2 ratio, we need to adjust to the .114 difference between the two teams’ SOS. To be fair, we will only draw the line to .090=6 because we don’t want to round up to the next break of .120=8. LBC now has the equivalent of a 15-6 (.714) in-region record while Geneseo is up to a 23-1 (.958) record. Ouch.

But is that fair? Should the line be that straight? Can anyone actually sit down and say that because .030=2 that means .060=4? Or .090=6? When working with metrics like this that is hard to say.

Now the D3 numbers guru, Matt Snyder, contends the ratio shouldn’t cross metrics. That a number like .030 shouldn’t be compared to a solid games number like 2. It should be more like .030=.080 (winning percentage).

If that is the case, let’s readjust the numbers. LBC now has a winning percentage of .760 when translated to a .536 SOS and Geneseo has a winning percentage of .948 translated to a .422 SOS. LBC’s winning percentage is actually better in this scenario and Geneseo’s doesn’t go up as high. However, it still leaves LBC out in the cold. And no, the vRRO isn’t helping and the committee probably isn’t getting far enough into the secondary criteria to give LBC credit for three more wins.

Lancaster Bible isn’t going to make the NCAA Tournament if they finish the season 25-1 or 26-1. It is obvious. And one could argue it isn’t fair.

Lancaster Bible has a number of things going against them. They play 18 conference games in a conference that arguably is one of the worst in the country. They have no choice but to play 18 games against teams whose own data is poor and they only can play seven games out of the conference to improve their situation. At some point, one would argue we shouldn’t be punishing teams like Lancaster Bible who are still winning no matter what their conference situation is. That straight line between SOS and WL probably should be more of a curve that eventually hits a point where too large of a discrepancy between SOS numbers can’t be easily measured in hard number of games or winning percentage adjustments. We can probably safely assume that SOS numbers on the extreme, like Lancaster Bible is on the low end, are rare. We can probably also safely assume that SOS numbers in the middle are far more common. So why would an extreme SOS be treated the same as those closer to the middle? I get that .030=2 when dealing those comparisons in the middle two-thirds, but it feels a bit extreme when dealing with SOS numbers well off the middle. It isn’t like a team in LBC’s situation can go and win MORE games to offset the SOS primarily affected by the conference. The same is true for teams like in the NESCAC last year who had extremely high SOS numbers; at some point how many games do they have to lose to bring their SOS back to the middle and more realistic a positioning?

That last example actually gets to what I think is an inadvertent double-standard. Last year North Central finished the season with an 18-8 record and a gaudy SOS of .587. In almost every criteria comparison against other teams using .030=2, North Central wins. You couldn’t overcome their SOS number. But they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament because the national committee basically said they lost too many games. In other words, great schedule, but you need to win more to qualify as an at-large.

The committee(s) seems to not be taking the same approach when it comes to Lancaster Bible. Instead of saying, they have done everything actually possible in this situation to overcome their SOS by winning every single game on their schedule, the committee(s) is saying, your SOS is so poor you can never overcome it. No chance.

No chance? So North Central puts together a ridiculously good schedule, but are not rewarded for that SOS because they didn’t win enough games. North Central actually could overcome the problem by winning one or two more games, something they have done this year. Lancaster Bible has a ridiculously bad schedule, but are not rewarded for the fact they at least went out and didn’t lose. They pretty much can’t do anything more if they are an at-large team and only lost their final game of the season.

Those previous examples we showed of teams who didn’t, or weren’t, going to make the NCAA Tournament without an automatic bid at least had lost two or three games to change the equation. LBC has lost none and at worst will have one. It seems strange you can ding a team and keep them from making the tournament based on the W-L not being good enough against a really good SOS, but then turn around and ding a team and possibly keep them out of the tournament based on a near-perfect W-L no matter the SOS.

There will be teams who make this year’s NCAA Tournament as at-large teams because of incredibly good SOS numbers, but lost five, six, seven, or more games. If the Chargers miss out, it will be simply because they lost their first game in their final game of the entire schedule. That really seems backwards. Wins and losses eventually trumps a really good SOS. Why can’t wins and a lack of losses also eventually trump a really bad SOS? We already know there is a line around three losses. Are we comfortable drawing a line at one loss?

Now, Lancaster Bible is not an innocent bystander. They have one of the worst SOS numbers in the entire country. They in fact have the worst SOS in their conference! But there is a reason they are at the bottom of the NEAC in terms of SOS. The NEAC is full of programs that other teams will either schedule to help improve their own team or to use as fodder for what might be an already difficult schedule. That or they want to warm up to the start the season or restart after the exam/holiday break with an easier opponent. Bryn Athyn has a .484 SOS. Do you really think that is because Bryn Athyn is able to schedule better in their third season of existence than Lancaster Bible can?

No, it’s because LBC has been good for several years now. They have lost in the conference finals the last few years, missing out on the NCAA Tournament as a result despite a 24-3 record last season. They ended up qualifying for the NCCAA Division II tournament and won the national title in a four-round tournament. They are no longer considered fodder for other teams around them in the Mid-Atlantic or Atlantic Regions nor in their own East Region. Teams don’t want to play them because they might actually lose! But because LBC can’t schedule tough opponents doesn’t let them off the hook.

The previous coaching staff put together a sub-par out-of-conference schedule in the eyes of SOS and regional opponents of significance. Of the seven games they scheduled, only one ended up being against a team that even enters the regional conversation, Franklin and Marshall. LBC played them thanks to the fact they went to Messiah’s tournament and the Falcons didn’t want to play F&M or New Jersey City in the opening round. Otherwise, the schedule was full of either have-beens or never-have-beens including one, Valley Forge, that doesn’t even count in the eyes of the NCAA (Valley Forge is in their second provisional year of the four-year Division III process; Valley Forge is the very definition of a fodder team in the Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic regions). Of the six out-of-conference opponents on LBC’s schedule this year that they could control (F&M being the exception), NONE of them have a winning record.

But the NEAC doesn’t help. Of the 12 conference opponents and 18 games in LBC’s schedule, only three have winning records. LBC played 14 games in conference against teams with a total record of 64-156 (.290). Playing against Morrisville State (18-7) once, SUNYIT (Poly) (14-12) once, and Gallaudet (18-7) twice only improved the conference opponents winning percentage to 114-182 (.385). You simply cannot overcome that when nearly three-quarters of your schedule is against opponents who can’t win even 40-percent of their games. Nor when half of your schedule is against teams who can’t win 30-percent of their games.

What is even worse? NEAC expansion from the outside and from within forces LBC to play teams like Bryn Athyn twice, who don’t even count towards the NCAA criteria (thus the difference of games between LBC’s in-region/D3 record and their overall). For LBC, it is a lose-lose-lose scenario: forced to play them twice; the wins essentially don’t count and they don’t help the SOS; and LBC certainly better not lose to those teams, either. The optics of that are even worse!

The NEAC’s playing schedule, make up of teams, institutional philosophies, and the fact many are fodder for better teams doesn’t help squads like LBC get into the NCAA Tournament. The conference has shown it can produce really good, top-notch programs like Morrisville State who took advantage of conference titles and marched themselves to the Sweet 16 (’13) and then the Elite 8 (’14) in back to back seasons. SUNYIT got to the Sweet 16 prior to that.

Other conferences, especially large ones have found ways to help their top teams. Whether it’s not forcing teams to play every single team in the conference twice or even once (divisional conferences sometimes only have a team play half of the other division) or they only allow a certain number of teams into the conference tournament (which the NEAC does). Some conferences will also protect the top seeds from taking on teams early in their conference tournaments that may further hurt their SOS or accidentally knock out the conference’s best hope in the post-season using a bye or double-bye system (the OAC women in the past and the CUNYAC this season used the double-bye system). The double-bye usually keeps the top seeds safe from a bad SOS hit and protects them from losing a game early that will certainly knock them out of the post-season discussion.

Some may ask if Lancaster Bible or others in their situation should consider moving conferences. I am sure the idea has crossed the minds of those at LBC, but it doesn’t help programs immediately (it is at least a two-year process) and with a team like LBC, where are they going to go? The MAC Commonwealth, CAC, Centennial, and Landmark (all of which surround LBC) aren’t looking to expand and LBC doesn’t necessarily fit into those conferences very well, other than possibly the CAC. If they aren’t going to fit into the MAC Commonwealth, then the Freedom in the Atlantic Region is out of the question and they certainly don’t fit the NJAC or the CUNYAC models. There is the Skyline, but would that conference want to add another long trip when they already have Sage in the mix? (Merchant Marine is leaving the Landmark and rejoining the Skyline because of scheduling problems. Can you imagine them being okay with a trip to central Pennsylvania every year?) Don’t look at the East Region, because the SUNYAC, Empire 8, Liberty League are not options for LBC. There is the AMCC in the Great Lakes Region, but I’m not sure that’s really being something the AMCC would be interested in doing.

So LBC is stuck in the bed they are in. They can only control their out-of-conference schedule which coach Zach Filzen admitted on Hoopsville on Thursday needs to be fixed moving forward (he inherited this season’s schedule when he took over in June). But the conference, and others similar, needs to look at how they can help as well whether it is changing the scheduling to allow more out-of-conference games or protecting the top seed to avoid catastrophe.

It also gets back to the selection and ranking criteria. There can’t be such a rigid line that a team who does everything it possibly can outside of winning a game against a conference opponent for possibly a third time can’t get into the NCAA tournament. How can the WL trump a really good SOS, but it can’t trump a really bad SOS?

Everyone you talk to who has seen Lancaster Bible in action says they are a legitimate Top 25 team. If they continue, they will certainly be a team that can repeat what Morrisville State did. They are good enough talent wise to compete with some of the best in the country. But they won’t get there unless they actually go perfect for the regular season. It almost seems better if they had tanked some of their games earlier in the season so we could look at their resume and say, “well, they have a poor SOS and they couldn’t even win against that schedule. Of course they have to win their conference title. With that many losses against that SOS, they stand no chance as an at-large.”

As it stands now, Lancaster Bible stands no chance at an at-large even if they only lose the final game of the season.

Third NCAA regional ranking

north-central-connor-raridon-sw-480x400The third NCAA regional rankings have been released. The last ranking will come on Sunday, Feb. 28, which we do not get to see.

Need to know more about the regional rankings process and what they mean? Need to know more about the NCAA Tournament? Check out our NCAA Tournament FAQ.

Plus, we now have posted the previous 17 years’ worth of regional rankings online! Check out Division III men’s basketball regional rankings, 1999-2015 and Division III women’s basketball regional rankings, 1999-2015.

The first record is Division III record, followed by overall.
Through games of Sunday, Feb. 21.

Men’s rankings
Atlantic Region – NCAA data sheet

1 New Jersey City 18-7 18-7
2 Stockton 19-5 19-6
3 DeSales 19-5 19-6
4 Brooklyn 20-6 20-6
5 Lehman 17-7 18-7
6 Staten Island 18-6 18-7
7 Rutgers-Newark 20-6 20-6

Central – NCAA data sheet

1 Benedictine 25-0 25-0
2 Augustana  24-1 24-1
3 St. Norbert 21-2 21-2
4 North Central (Ill.) 18-6 19-6
5 Elmhurst 20-5 20-5
6 Chicago 16-7 17-7
7 Aurora 19-5 20-5
8 Carroll 19-4 19-4

East – NCAA data sheet

1 Plattsburgh State 21-4 21-4
2 Rochester 17-6 17-7
3 NYU 19-5 19-5
4 St. John Fisher 20-5 20-5
5 Oswego State 18-7 18-7
6 SUNY Geneseo 17-7 17-8

Great Lakes – NCAA data sheet

1 Marietta 23-2 23-2
2 Ohio Wesleyan 22-3 22-3
3 John Carroll 22-3 22-3
4 Hope 21-1 23-2
5 Alma 19-6 19-6
6 Wooster 18-6 19-6
7 Mount Union 16-8 17-8
8 Hiram 18-6 18-7
9 St. Vincent 19-6 19-6

Mid-Atlantic – NCAA data sheet

1 Christopher Newport 24-1 24-1
2 Susquehanna 20-3 22-3
3 Salisbury 20-5 20-5
4 Catholic 20-5 20-5
5 Scranton 18-6 19-6
6 Franklin and Marshall 20-5 20-5

Northeast – NCAA data sheet

1 Amherst 21-4 21-4
2 Trinity (Conn.) 18-6 19-6
3 Tufts 20-5 20-5
4 Babson 19-5 19-5
5 WPI 20-5 20-5
6 Johnson and Wales  22-2 23-2
7 Eastern Connecticut 17-8 17-8
8 MIT 19-6 19-6
9 Middlebury 15-10 15-10
10 Southern Vermont 22-3 22-3
11 Nichols 22-3 22-3

South – NCAA data sheet

1 Texas Lutheran 19-6 19-6
2 Lynchburg 19-6 19-6
3 Emory 16-7 17-7
4 Virginia Wesleyan 17-8 17-8
5 N.C. Wesleyan 15-4 19-6
6 LaGrange 15-6 18-7
7 East Texas Baptist 17-5 20-5
8 Roanoke 18-6 19-6

West – NCAA data sheet

1 St. Thomas  23-2 23-2
2 Whitworth 23-1 24-1
3 Whitman 21-3 22-3
4 St. John’s  17-7 18-7
5 St. Olaf 16-9 16-9
6 Concordia-Moorhead 16-8 16-9
7 Bethel 17-8 17-8


The first record is Division III record, followed by overall record.


1 Stockton 21-5 21-5
2 Montclair State 19-6 19-6
3 Rowan 21-4 21-4
4 DeSales 19-6 19-6
5 FDU-Florham 18-6 19-6
6 Manhattanville 18-7 18-7
7 Marywood 17-6 18-7
8 Gwynedd Mercy 20-5 20-5


1 Washington U.  20-4 20-4
2 UW-River Falls 20-4 21-4
3 UW-Stevens Point 19-6 19-6
4 UW-Oshkosh 19-5 20-5
5 UW-Whitewater 18-6 19-6
6 Wheaton (Ill.) 19-5 20-5
7 Concordia (Wis.) 20-4 20-5
8 Westminster (Mo.) 19-2 20-4
9 St. Norbert 19-4 19-4


1 Rochester 19-5 19-5
2 New York University 17-7 17-7
3 Stevens 19-6 19-6
4 SUNY Geneseo 19-5 19-6
5 St. John Fisher 22-2 22-3
6 SUNY New Paltz 19-6 19-6
7 Clarkson 20-5 20-5
8 Fredonia 17-7 18-7

Great Lakes

1 Thomas More 24-0 25-0
2 Hope 23-1 24-1
3 Ohio Northern 22-3 22-3
4 Denison 22-3 22-3
5 Carnegie Mellon 18-6 18-6
6 Bluffton 21-2 23-2
7 Capital 19-6 19-6
8 Rose-Hulman 20-3 22-3
9 La Roche 22-3 22-3


1 Scranton 25-0 25-0
2 Muhlenberg 22-2 22-2
3 Albright 23-2 23-2
4 Marymount  21-4 21-4
5 Christopher Newport 22-3 22-3
6 Moravian 19-6 19-6
7 Mary Washington 21-4 21-4
8 Gettysburg 18-5 18-5


1 Tufts 22-2 22-2
2 Amherst 24-1 24-1
3 University of New England 22-3 22-3
4 Bowdoin 20-5 20-5
5 Johnson and Wales  23-2 23-2
6 Eastern Connecticut  19-6 19-6
7 Keene State 21-4 21-4
8 Babson 20-5 20-5
9 Emmanuel  19-6 19-6
10 Regis (Mass.) 22-3 22-3
11 Saint Joseph’s (Maine) 18-5 20-5
12 Husson 19-6 19-6
*One conference did not vote. (The NCAA used to call out specifically which conference but it’s not mentioned here.)


1 Texas-Tyler 20-1 24-1
2 Guilford 19-4 19-4
3 Lynchburg 21-4 21-4
4 Maryville (Tenn.) 21-3 21-3
5 Birmingham-Southern 20-3 21-3
6 Trinity (Texas) 18-4 20-5
7 Hendrix 19-6 19-6
8 Austin 18-7 18-7
9 Emory and Henry 18-6 18-7


1 George Fox 24-0 25-0
2 St. Thomas  22-3 22-3
3 Wartburg 18-6 19-6
4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20-4 20-5
5 St. Mary’s (Minn.) 20-5 20-5
6 Luther 17-6 19-6
7 Gustavus Adolphus 19-6 19-6
8 UW-Superior 22-3 22-3

Regional score reporting forms (including SOS) below:
Atlantic | Central | East | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast | South | West

Second NCAA regional ranking

plattsburgh-edward-correa-480x400The second NCAA regional rankings have been released. Further rankings will follow on Feb. 24, along with one on Sunday, Feb. 28, which we do not get to see.

Need to know more about the regional rankings process and what they mean? Need to know more about the NCAA Tournament? Check out our NCAA Tournament FAQ.

The first record is Division III record, followed by overall.
Through games of Sunday, Feb. 14.

The NCAA has updated its data sheets. However, sometimes they disappear so if you really want a copy, you might want to go through and save the PDF files.

Men’s rankings
Atlantic Region – NCAA data sheet
1 New Jersey City 17-7 17-7
2 Stockton 18-5 18-6
3 DeSales 17-5 17-6
4 Staten Island 18-5 18-6
5 Brooklyn 18-6 18-6
6 Rutgers-Newark 18-6 18-6
7 Delaware Valley 15-6 17-6

Central – NCAA data sheet

1 Benedictine 24-0 24-0
2 Augustana 23-1 23-1
3 St. Norbert 20-2 20-2
4 North Central (Ill.) 17-6 18-6
5 Elmhurst 20-4 20-4
6 Chicago 15-6 16-6
7 Aurora 17-5 18-5
8 Carroll 17-4 17-4

East – NCAA data sheet

1 Plattsburgh State 18-4 18-4
2 Rochester 16-5 16-6
3 SUNY Geneseo 16-5 16-6
4 Brockport 15-7 15-7
5 Oswego State 17-6 17-6
6 NYU 18-4 18-4

Great Lakes – NCAA data sheet

1 Marietta 21-2 21-2
2 John Carroll 21-2 21-2
3 Ohio Wesleyan 20-3 20-3
4 Alma 18-5 18-5
5 Hope 19-1 21-2
6 Wooster 16-6 17-6
7 Hiram 17-5 17-6
8 Mount Union 14-7 15-7
9 St. Vincent 17-6 17-6

Mid-Atlantic – NCAA data sheet

1 Christopher Newport 22-1 22-1
2 Susquehanna 17-3 19-3
3 Salisbury 18-5 18-5
4 Catholic 17-5 17-5
5 Scranton 17-5 18-5
6 Franklin and Marshall 18-4 18-4

Northeast – NCAA data sheet

1 Amherst 20-4 20-4
2 Trinity (Conn.) 17-6 18-6
3 Tufts 19-5 19-5
4 Babson 17-5 17-5
5 WPI 18-5 18-5
6 Eastern Connecticut 16-7 16-7
7 Wesleyan 18-6 18-6
8 Johnson and Wales 20-2 21-2
9 MIT 18-5 18-5
10 Southern Vermont 20-3 20-3
11 Nichols 20-3 20-3

South – NCAA data sheet

1 Texas Lutheran 19-5 19-5
2 Virginia Wesleyan 17-6 17-6
3 Emory 15-6 16-6
4 Lynchburg 17-6 17-6
5 LaGrange 13-6 16-7
6 East Texas Baptist 17-5 19-5
7 Roanoke 18-4 19-4
8 N.C. Wesleyan 13-4 17-6

West – NCAA data sheet

1 St. Thomas 21-2 21-2
2 Whitworth 21-1 22-1
3 Whitman 19-3 20-3
4 St. John’s 16-6 17-6
5 St. Olaf 16-8 16-8
6 Concordia-Moorhead 15-8 15-9
7 Augsburg 15-8 15-8

The first record is Division III record, followed by overall record.


1 Stockton 20-4 20-4
2 Rowan 20-4 20-4
3 Montclair State 18-6 18-6
4 DeSales 17-6 17-6
5 Manhattanville 16-6 16-6
6 Gwynedd Mercy 19-4 19-4
7 FDU-Florham 16-6 17-6
8 Sage 18-5 19-5


1 UW-Oshkosh 18-4 19-4
2 Washington U. 18-4 18-4
3 UW-River Falls 18-4 19-4
4 UW-Stevens Point 17-6 17-6
5 UW-Whitewater 18-4 19-4
6 Wheaton (Ill.) 18-5 18-5
7 Concordia (Wis.) 18-4 18-5
8 Westminster (Mo.) 17-2 18-4
9 St. Norbert 18-4 18-4


1 Rochester 18-4 18-4
2 New York University 17-5 17-5
3 SUNY New Paltz 18-5 18-5
4 Stevens 17-5 17-5
5 SUNY Geneseo 16-5 16-6
6 St. John Fisher 20-2 20-3
7 Clarkson 19-4 19-4
8 Rochester Tech 18-5 18-5

Great Lakes

1 Thomas More 22-0 22-0
2 Hope 22-0 23-0
3 Ohio Northern 20-3 20-3
4 Denison 20-3 20-3
5 Capital 18-5 18-5
6 Bluffton 19-2 21-2
7 Rose-Hulman 18-3 20-3
8 Carnegie Mellon 16-6 16-6
9 La Roche 20-3 20-3


1 Scranton 23-0 23-0
2 Albright 22-2 22-2
3 Muhlenberg 20-2 20-2
4 Christopher Newport 21-2 21-2
5 Mary Washington 19-4 19-4
6 Marymount  19-4 19-4
7 Moravian 17-6 17-6
8 McDaniel 19-4 19-4


1 Tufts 21-2 21-2
2 Amherst 23-1 23-1
3 University of New England 20-3 20-3
4 Bowdoin 19-5 19-5
5 Johnson and Wales 21-2 21-2
6 Eastern Connecticut 17-6 17-6
7 Connecticut College 17-6 17-6
8 Keene State 20-3 20-3
9 Emmanuel 18-6 18-6
10 Williams 17-7 17-7
11 Regis (Mass.) 20-3 20-3
12 Babson 18-5 18-5


1 Texas-Tyler 18-1 21-1
2 Guilford 18-3 18-3
3 Lynchburg 19-4 19-4
4 Birmingham-Southern 19-2 20-2
5 Maryville (Tenn.) 19-3 19-3
6 Trinity (Texas) 18-3 20-4
7 Eastern Mennonite 16-6 16-6
8 Austin 16-7 16-7
9 Hendrix 18-5 18-5


1 George Fox 22-0 23-0
2 St. Thomas 20-3 20-3
3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 19-3 19-4
4 Saint Mary’s (Minn.) 19-4 19-4
5 Luther 16-5 18-5
6 Wartburg 16-6 17-6
7 Chapman 17-4 17-6
8 Gustavus Adolphus 17-6 17-6

Regional score reporting forms (including SOS) below:
Atlantic | Central | East | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast | South | West

Dave’s Top 25 Ballot – Week 10

Whitworth moved up in another shake up of Dave’s Top 10 – and the rest of the Top 25


It always seems that once a year the day Regional Rankings are released there is carnage… or at least the week of that release. But I did NOT see last Wednesday coming or what would result the rest of the week. I figured we had another week before things might get a little crazy as teams are focused on conference postseasons and such.

Nope. Last week was brutal.

You may remember last week I blew up my ballot, considered at least 20 teams outside of my Top 25, shook up most of the ballot, and replaced four of the teams on my ballot. Whelp, this week was nearly the same. I ended up writing down and diving deep into 23 teams (meaning I was seriously considering 48 teams!), reshuffled nearly the entire Top 10, and blew up basically everything from about 17 down. It results in replacing five teams and shaking my head quite a bit.

I keep threatening to throw darts. I am not sure why I didn’t resort to that this week.

Not much else I can say. I saw a lot of games this week in person or online (though, I missed an awesome opportunity to see a Top 10 battle, which I talked about on Hoopsville Sunday) and really tried to give as many teams I have questions about a fair shake. It is just amazing how many teams that ends up including.

Plenty more to say about a lot of the teams on my ballot, and who fell off, so here we go:

1 – Augustana^ (Unchanged)

2 – Benedictine (Unchanged)

3 – Whitworth* (Up 2)

Christopher Newport has a lot of good pieces, including on the bench, which make them dangerous. Courtesy: Christopher Newport Athletics

4 – Christopher Newport* (Up 3)
I got a chance to see the Captains in person this weekend. Damn they are good. Granted, the York (Pa.) game isn’t exactly the best place to compare against, especially since YCP played hard in the second half to make it interesting for a brief moment. However, Christopher Newport has a ton of weapons and to paraphrase Scott Guise at YCP they have players coming off the bench who could start for a lot of teams in the Mid-Atlantic. I agree with Ryan Scott who said recently this is a team who could make serious run for Salem considering the bracket they will probably run through.

5 – Marietta (Up 5)
The Pioneers put their foot down on the Great Lakes region this past week. Beating both Mount Union and John Carroll, they proved that the OAC and possibly those wanting to go to Salem via the Great Lakes will have to go through Marietta to get it done. Very impressive. Certainly a statement week. Here’s hoping the Pioneers use it to keep themselves motivated, versus losing focus after two major games.

6 – St. Thomas* (Down 2)

7 – Hope (Down 1)

John Carroll lost control of their season, ever so slightly, last week.

8 – John Carroll (Down 5)
Rough week for the Blue Streaks… who saw their 21-game win-streak to start the season come to an end. I wouldn’t have dinged them too much for losing to Baldwin Wallace first, though not the team I expected them to lose to, but they couldn’t regain their footing before Marietta kept them streaking in the wrong direction. I still think John Carroll is a dangerously good team, but they have to forget about these two losses with Mount Union up next and then a good showing needed in the conference tournament if they want to enter the NCAA Tournament strong.

9 – Ohio Wesleyan (Down 1)
I thought about moving the Battling Bishops down a little further after another odd loss, this time to Wabash, but there is a buffer below them where I don’t think the teams below are better. However, it is another head-scratching loss for Ohio Wesleyan. I hope they haven’t peaked too early and are running out of gas. A lot of teams this part of the season are licking their wounds from the grind and OWU is clearly in that boat, but they have to find a way to recover, rest, and respond… because they missed a prime opportunity to regain first place in the NCAC for themselves by losing to Wabash.

10 – Elmhurst (Down 1)

St. Norbert is still undefeated in conference. A feat that has them readily moving up the IIAC.

11 – St. Norbert (Up 2)

12 – Lancaster Bible (Up 2)

13 – Johnson and Wales (Down 2)
I actually figured the way the Wildcats were blistering the conference they would go undefeated in the GNAC. They proved that point by thumping Lasell (who is second in the conference) earlier last week, but Albertus Magnus made up for a 55-point beatdown earlier in the season with a confident eight-point win on Saturday. I give AMC’s Mitch Oliver most of the credit for that win considering his ability to adjust, but the Wildcats need to be a bit like Teflon and let that loss slide off and get back to work in the final week of the season before the conference tournament begins.

14 – Susquehanna^ (Down 2)

15 – Alma (Unchanged)

16 – Whitman (Up 1)

17 – Amherst^ (Up 3)

Plattsburgh State wants to make sure they are wearing white during the SUNYAC tournament.

18 – Plattsburgh State (Down 2)
Wow! The Cardinals got blitzed by Oswego State! At first, I thought about dropping Plattsburgh State significantly as a result, but then I considered two things: Oswego is playing really well (though digging out of an early season hole) and there really aren’t that many teams below Plattsburgh I would feel comfortable putting ahead of them. That one loss doesn’t change the fact they are in control of the SUNYAC which will mean a lot of teams making a very long trip to try and knock them off.

North Central (Ill.) finally cracked into Dave’s Top 25.

19 – North Central (Ill.) (Unranked)
OK… I am ranking the Cardinals. I still have some reservations with North Central, but they finally got a win I have been waiting for. NCC has played a lot of good teams this season, which means their have an incredible SOS, a respectable number of regionally ranked opponents, and more. However, they can’t seem to get a significant win until last week and some of their resume has faded near the end of the season (Chicago, Mount Union, etc.). So, I am ranking North Central this week, but I am rather confident they will lose at least one more game in the next two weeks (in the CCIW tournament) if they don’t do it first on the road against North Park this weekend.

20 – Rochester* (Unranked)
The UAA is just crazy this year! This was Chicago’s to take just a few weeks ago and all of the sudden it is Rochester who has won eight straight and sits in a tie with Emory on top of the rankings. And with three games to play, NYU and Chicago are only two games back waiting for Rochester and Emory to stumble. But back to the Yellow Jackets who, like I said, have won eight straight including beating NYU who beat Emory this weekend. Rochester is also well positioned in the first regional rankings and after this weekend I can’t imagine that changes … meaning if the UAA is going to get an extra bid to the NCAA Tournament, Rochester might be their best bet – if they don’t surprisingly win the conference!

Babson returns to Dave’s ballot thanks to winning 11 of their last 12 games.

21 – Babson^ (Unranked)
Hard to ignore the Beavers any more. They have won seven straight and 11 of their last 12 and taken firm control of the NEWMAC race. In the grand scheme of things, their five losses aren’t bad, though only one or two are “good” (Amherst and Tufts). However, this is how I expected this team to play this season and maybe they have found themselves at the perfect time to make a respectable run back to Salem.

22 – Virginia Wesleyan^ (Unranked)
Quietly, the Marlins are reemerging as the team to beat out of the South Region. Dave Macedo has gotten the squad pointed in the right direction and they have now won 9 of their last 10 (though, Randolph-Macon trounced them) and 12 of their last 14. But, I am a little nervous. They are still not dominating teams, though it looks like they have figured out how to scrap for wins and win tight games which where letting slip through their hands earlier this season. They are also now on top of the ODAC.. but that doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things because no match-up at the Salem Civic Center appears to be easy this year – or any year for that matter.

Tufts will due battle in the NESCAC conference tournament starting this weekend.

23 – Tufts (Unranked)
I have been watching Tufts for weeks. And while they have a recent loss to Trinity that has me uneasy (and debating about putting Trinity here instead), there is something about how Bob Sheldon’s team is play – including an impressive win over Amherst recently – that I like. Though, I will admit I didn’t like it necessarily last week. They have at least followed up the win with more wins. Coincidently they finished with a win on the road at Williams Saturday and will have a rematch this Saturday in the NESCAC quarterfinals (at Trinity). That is something that could easily derail the Jumbos if they don’t watch out.

24 – Northwestern (Minn.) (Down 3)
No major reasons I have been moving Northwestern down my ballot except I have been making room for teams I think are better than the Eagles. However, I will say when I see their SOS this week is unofficially** a .399 I get very concerned. Northwestern has basically played no one, especially in the UMAC. And while that didn’t mean much last season leading them to an incredible run in the NCAA Tournament… I think it is a telling sign this season. They also are not going to get into the tournament unless they take care of business in the UMAC tournament.

PSU-Behrend nearly dropped out of Dave’s Top 25 after losing to Medaille last week.

25 – PSU-Behrend (Down 7)
Not only did they lose a conference game they shouldn’t be losing, but there are other teams surging that need to get put ahead of them in the poll – thus a drop of seven spots for the Lions. Here is another team basically in a win-the-conference-or-go-home boat – as they were last year when they missed out on the tournament. They may only have two losses, but Behrend doesn’t feel like a Top 25 team anymore… though I am staying with them for right now.

Dropped Out:

Mount Union (Previously 19)
For as good a week as Marietta had, Mount Union and John Carroll had the opposite. The problem with the Purple Raiders is they now have seven losses and are 4-4 in their last eight. Three HUGE games coming up including against John Carroll. If Mount Union wants to put together any hope for an at-large argument (assuming, thus, they have lost in the conference tournament), they cannot lose those three. (Of course, after I wrote this blog, but before i posted it, they lost to Muskingum on Monday night.)

Wooster (Previously 22)
Just when I thought the Scots had figured things out, they stumble again. You quickly forget about wins over Ohio Wesleyan when you come back and lose to Hiram. I know Hiram is a much improved team, that isn’t the issue. The issue is Wooster isn’t consistent this season and thus I am not comfortable with them in my Top 25.

Emory let the UAA lead slip out of their grip, but three games remain in what can only be described as a chaotic conference race.

Emory (Previously 23)
Just when I buy in, they stumble, too. I am not one of those voters who thinks NYU is a great team (or at least a Top 25 team), thus the loss by Emory is not a good one in my book. They had a chance to keep control of the UAA, but now put themselves in a must-win situation. Their saving grace is their insane SOS (.600) which will probably still keep them in the at-large conversation in a very loss-heavy South Region in less than two weeks.

Aurora (Previously 24)
Eh. Another team I buy into and suffers a loss I can’t explain or understand. It isn’t that Concordia (Wis.) is a bad team, but if Aurora is a Top 25 team they win that game. I like Aurora, but I don’t like that loss. It was part of the carnage, I realize. But when you are at the bottom of a voter’s ballot, any slip up will most likely cost you.

F&M is still a work in progress for a program that has been maybe over achieving since last season.

Franklin & Marshall* (Previously 25)
I got a chance to finally see the Diplomats in person this year (I usually see them at least once, more likely twice a season; saw a lot of them on video streams this year) and I wasn’t impressed. What I saw equaled what the voice in the back of my head had been saying for a long time. They have some nice players, but the starting five has a few holes and they cannot play consistent or a full 40 minutes. I saw a team that got frustrated at the drop of a hat and Johns Hopkins (who they were playing against) took full advantage when their only true inside presence had to take a break for foul trouble. What is also telling: when F&M fans I know tell me they don’t think the Diplomats are a Top 25 team, either (no, I am not going to name names).

* – teams I have seen in person this season
^ – teams I have saw in person last season
** – the number comes from Matt Snyder’s SOS math which last week was proven to be nearly identical to the NCAA’s data. You can find it here along with his regional predictions based on that data here.

Previous Ballots:

Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 2
Week 1

So now that we have gotten that out of the way, how this season has played out so far… I am bound to replace half of this Top 25 in the next two weeks as conference seasons come to a close and conference tournaments turn everything on its head. It has been an unbelievable year so far… why wouldn’t the last two weeks of the regular season be any different.

Buckle up… this is going to be fun… and insane.

First 2016 regional rankings released today

JOL_2532The first NCAA regional rankings have been released this afternoon. Further rankings will follow on Feb. 17 and Feb. 24, along with one on Sunday, Feb. 28, which we do not get to see.

Need to know more about the regional rankings process and what they mean? Need to know more about the NCAA Tournament? Check out our NCAA Tournament FAQ.

The first record is Division III record, followed by overall.
Through games of Sunday, Feb. 7.

The NCAA has updated its data sheets. However, sometimes they disappear so if you really want a copy, you might want to go through and save the PDF files.

Men’s rankings
Atlantic Region – NCAA data sheet

1 Stockton 17-4 17-5
2 Staten Island 17-4 17-5
3 Brooklyn 17-5 17-5
4 New Jersey City 14-7 14-7
5 DeSales 15-5 15-6
6 Rutgers-Newark 16-6 16-6
7 Delaware Valley 14-5 16-5

Central – NCAA data sheet

1 Benedictine  22-0 22-0
2 Augustana  21-1 21-1
3 St. Norbert 18-2 18-2
4 North Central (Ill.) 15-6 16-6
5 Elmhurst 19-3 19-3
6 Aurora 16-4 17-4
7 Chicago 13-6 14-6
8 Carroll 15-4 15-4

East – NCAA data sheet

1 Plattsburgh State 17-3 17-3
2 Rochester 14-5 14-6
3 SUNY Geneseo 14-4 14-5
4 Oswego State 14-6 14-6
5 SUNY Oneonta 13-7 13-7
6 St. John Fisher 15-5 15-5

Great Lakes – NCAA data sheet

1 John Carroll 21-0 21-0
2 Marietta 19-2 19-2
3 Ohio Wesleyan 19-2 19-2
4 Hope 17-1 19-2
5 Alma 16-5 16-5
6 Wooster 15-5 16-5
7 Mount Union 14-5 15-5
8 Hiram 15-5 15-6
9 Trine 14-6 15-6

Mid-Atlantic – NCAA data sheet

1 Christopher Newport 20-1 20-1
2 Susquehanna 16-2 18-2
3 Salisbury 16-5 16-5
4 Catholic 16-5 16-5
5 Franklin and Marshall 18-3 18-3
6 Scranton 15-5 16-5

Northeast – NCAA data sheet

1 Amherst 18-4 18-4
2 Trinity (Conn.) 15-6 16-6
3 Tufts 17-5 17-5
4 Babson 15-5 15-5
5 Wesleyan  18-4 18-4
6 WPI 16-5 16-5
7 Eastern Connecticut 14-7 14-7
8 MIT 16-4 16-4
9 Johnson & Wales  19-1 20-1
10 Southern Vermont 18-3 18-3
11 Nichols 18-3 18-3

South – NCAA data sheet

1 Emory 14-5 15-5
2 Texas Lutheran 17-5 17-5
3 Virginia Wesleyan 15-6 15-6
4 Lynchburg 16-5 16-5
5 LaGrange 12-5 15-6
6 East Texas Baptist 16-4 18-4
7 Roanoke 16-4 17-4
8 N.C. Wesleyan 11-4 15-6

West – NCAA data sheet

1 St. Thomas  19-1 19-1
2 Whitworth 19-1 20-1
3 Whitman 17-3 18-3
4 Concordia-Moorhead 14-6 14-7
5 Bethel  14-6 14-6
6 St. John’s  15-5 16-5
7 Dubuque 12-6 15-6


The first record is Division III record, followed by overall record.


1 Stockton 18-4 18-4
2 Rowan 19-3 19-3
3 Montclair State 16-6 16-6
4 DeSales 16-5 16-5
5 Sage 17-4 17-4
6 Gwynedd Mercy 17-4 17-4
7 FDU-Florham 15-5 16-5
8 Manhattanville 14-6 14-6


1 UW-Stevens Point 16-5 16-5
2 Washington U.  16-4 16-4
3 UW-River Falls 16-4 17-4
4 UW-Oshkosh 16-4 17-4
5 UW-Whitewater 16-4 17-4
6 Concordia (Wis.) 17-3 17-4
7 Wheaton (Ill.) 16-5 16-5
8 Westminster (Mo.) 15-2 16-4
9 St. Norbert 16-4 16-4


1 Rochester  17-3 17-3
2 New York University 17-3 17-3
3 SUNY Geneseo 14-4 14-5
4 Stevens 15-5 15-5
5 St. John Fisher 17-2 17-3
6 SUNY New Paltz 15-5 15-5
7 Clarkson 17-4 17-4
8 Rochester Tech 17-4 17-4

Great Lakes

1 Thomas More 20-0 20-0
2 Hope 21-0 21-0
3 Ohio Northern 18-3 18-3
4 Denison 19-3 19-3
5 Carnegie Mellon 15-5 15-5
6 Rose-Hulman 16-3 18-3
7 Capital 17-4 17-4
8 Bluffton 17-2 19-2
9 Washington and Jefferson 18-3 18-3


1 Scranton 21-0 21-0
2 Albright 20-2 20-2
3 Muhlenberg 17-2 17-2
4 Marymount  18-3 18-3
5 Moravian 16-5 16-5
6 Christopher Newport 19-2 19-2
7 Mary Washington 18-3 18-3
8 York (Pa.) 16-5 16-5


1 Tufts 20-2 20-2
2 Amherst 21-1 21-1
3 University of New England 18-3 18-3
4 Bowdoin 17-5 17-5
5 Williams 17-5 17-5
6 St. Joseph’s (Maine) 15-4 17-4
7 Johnson & Wales  20-2 20-2
8 Eastern Connecticut  16-5 16-5
9 Keene State 18-3 18-3
10 Regis (Mass.) 18-3 18-3
11 WPI 20-1 20-1
12 Connecticut College 16-5 16-5


1 Texas-Tyler 18-1 21-1
2 Guilford 16-3 16-3
3 Maryville (Tenn.) 17-3 17-3
4 Lynchburg 17-4 17-4
5 Trinity (Texas) 16-3 18-4
6 Birmingham-Southern 17-2 18-2
7 Hendrix 16-5 16-5
8 Emory & Henry 15-4 15-5
9 Eastern Mennonite 14-6 14-6


1 George Fox 20-0 21-0
2 St. Thomas 18-3 18-3
3 Saint Mary’s (Minn.) 18-3 18-3
4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 17-3 17-4
5 Luther 14-5 16-5
6 Cal Lutheran 16-3 16-5
7 Loras 14-6 14-7
8 Gustavus Adolphus 15-6 15-6

Regional score reporting forms (including SOS) below:
Atlantic | Central | East | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast | South | West