Pool C WBB: Who’s in and Who’s Out?

By Riley Zayas, The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops

Good morning! Welcome to Selection Monday eve! We’ve got all but eight automatic qualifiers to the 2024 NCAA Tournament decided, and those championship games will be contested this afternoon. What a great weekend this is for D3 basketball! As I’ve continued working on my book on D3 hoops, I’ve had the chance to talk to several coaches and student-athletes within the past week, as they’ve navigated through their respective conference tournaments. Now comes to the NCAA Tournament, and 64 teams battling for the national title. As’s Pat Coleman wrote on X/Twitter yesterday: “This is one of the best days on the #d3hoops calendar, hands down.” He’s spot on.

This evening, I’ll be part of a panel on Hoopsville, the national Division III basketball talk show, attempting to correctly predict all 21 Pool C selections for this year’s tournament. This is my second year on the panel, and I’m looking forward to it! Based on what I’ve been told, our WBB panel will be on during the second half of the show, which begins at 5:00 p.m. ET this evening. You can watch on or on YouTube/Facebook, but make sure you tune in! Of course, the bracket is released by the national committee tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. ET on So a big next 36 hours in the world of D3 hoops!

Congratulations to all of the teams who have made the tournament already, and to the others who will soon punch their tickets. I’ll have a short write-up on our Pool A qualifiers coming out later this afternoon.

But now for a focus on Pool C…who’s in? Who’s out? How does the bubble look right now heading into today’s games? And most importantly, if your team is on the bubble, who should you be rooting for in today’s games? I may not know the answers to all of those questions, but will give my best assessments below. Even one result from today could shake up the entire Pool C situation, but as it stands right now, here’s a look.

Some notes before I get into this:
When I list two numbers as a “resume”, that is the Win Percentage/Strength of Schedule being listed. Win percentage is always listed first.

“ v/RROs” means results vs regionally-ranked opponents. This is a key piece of primary criteria in the selection process.

The data referenced below comes from Scott Peterson’s “NCAA resumes” section on his fantastic D3 WBB data website:

Teams on this list have finished their conference tournaments entirely. That is why you won’t see teams like Gettysburg, Shenandoah, Washington & Lee, Smith, and Babson referenced here.

I split the teams in this Pool C discussion into five buckets: Locks (teams that are safe but will take a Pool C bid), Teams on the bubble that are likely to be in, teams with 50/50 odds to make it via a Pool C bid, and teams on the bubble who are on the outside looking in.

These teams are in no particular order, but are generally how I think the process may play out.

UW-Whitewater: With an 846/645 resume, along with seven regionally-ranked wins, the Warhawks are not only a lock to make the tournament despite having lost in the WIAC tournament semifinals, but are in line to host an opening weekend pod as well.

Catholic: The Cardinals lost to Scranton in yesterday’s Landmark championship game, but will be one of the first three teams off the board with a solid 926/540 resume. It’s not all that often we get teams with a 25-2 record whose SOS is also above 540, but that’s what we have here. Balanced resume that the committee will certainly reward. Like Whitewater, Catholic should host in the opening weekend.

UW-Oshkosh: The Titans fell in Friday’s WIAC title game, but put together an incredibly strong season in the WIAC, and won the league’ regular season title. An incredibly strong SOS of 593 coupled with the 815 win percentage will come off the Pool C board early. I expect Oshkosh to be playing at home on Friday, hosting a pod.

Illinois Wesleyan: Playing in the ultra-tough CCIW, IWU is another team that will come off the board quick. The Titans dropped Saturday’s CCIW championship game to Carroll, but like Oshkosh, have an .815 win percentage along with a solid .573 SOS. The question now is, will IWU host in the first two rounds?

Hope: The Flying Dutch may end up hosting as well, and like many of these teams I’ve listed, put together an outstanding regular season, but were defeated in their conference tournaments. Hope picking up a Pool C is the result of a bid thief, as Trine, whose Pool C chances were nonexistent entering last night’s MIAA title game, took down the Flying Dutch, 73-69. It forces Hope to contend for a Pool C bid, which has a ripple effect down to the teams sitting on the bubble.

Springfield: Out of the NEWMAC, Springfield’s 815/561 balanced resume stacks up well, along with its 4-3 record v/RROs. Springfield is another team that should come off the board within the first 10 rounds, and should be on the board in Round 1 as Rhode Island College and Smith, who are both ahead of them, won the Pool A bids out of each of their respective conferences.

Trinity (CT): The Bantams are in, despite a somewhat shaky start to the season. The .731 win percentage sticks out a little bit more, but Trinity’s .637 SOS should be rewarded well by this committee, who has emphasized SOS and the impact playing a strong schedule has on your tournament chances in Pool C. I don’t think Trinity sits on the board long, though it may be a few more rounds than you’d think with that kind of SOS, simply because the win percentage is much lower.

Emory: Out of the UAA, the Eagles should be feel safe about their chances despite taking a tough loss at home to Rochester in the regular season finale. That one loss doesn’t change a whole lot for Emory’s Pool C outlook, and the 760/595 resume stacks up well. Especially out of Region 6. That’s the key here; who’s ahead of you in this week’s regional rankings (which we obviously aren’t able to see yet, but try our best to project). In this case, Emory should be first to the table out of Region 6, so the Eagles may sit on the table for 9-10 rounds, but should be picked towards the middle rounds of the Pool C process.

Millikin: The third team out of the CCIW, Millikin’s 815/557 resume is balanced and strong, and the 3-4 record v/RROs indicates that. Milllikin’s resume may sit on the table for a little while too, but the Big Blue are a lock to get in, even as the No. 4 team in Region 8. Once IWU comes off the board, Millikin will get to the table, and should be a team selected towards those middle rounds.

WashU: This is an interesting one, considering WashU’s .680 win percentage. The Bears aren’t even in the conversation with a win percentage this low, without a .621 SOS, which looks very impressive, as does the 5-7 record v/RROs. A benefit of playing in the UAA, certainly, but WashU also scheduled really well in non-conference. I don’t think WashU is on the bubble, especially having beaten Chicago on Saturday in what certainly appears to have been a Pool C elimination game.

Messiah: Another situation with a bid thief involved. Widener went to Messiah in the MACC championship game and took down the Falcons in an upset, causing a least one team’s bubble to pop. Messiah now is in the Pool C mix, rather than taking the AQ out of the MACC. With an 815/553 resume, there’s no need for Messiah fans to worry about missing the tournament. They’re going to be in.

Mary Hardin-Baylor: Again, these are not in a hard-and-fast order, but more of a general ordering of teams in the various buckets. UMHB lost in yesterday’s ASC title game to Hardin-Simmons, and even if The Cru drop to No. 3 in Region 10 (as opposed to No. 2), it would be behind Trinity (TX), who in that case, would have to have won today’s SCAC title game. Meaning that UMHB is going to be first to the table out of Region 10. As a result, the Crusaders’ 778/548 resume should be considered strongly between around Round 12 or so of the selection process. The SOS, along with an incredibly significant head-to-head win, is keeping UMHB above Willamette in the regional rankings, which is key for UMHB feeling fairly safe at this point.

UMass-Dartmouth: Alright, last team in this bucket. UMD finished as the LEC runner-up to Rhode Island College, and UMD’s 852/547 win percentage is going to be enough to get the Corsairs selected at the table without a ton of debate. The 1-3 v/RROs isn’t great, but they’re in a good spot, likely to be picking within the first 15-16 rounds.

On the bubble (but likely in)
Arcadia: Without the bid thieves we had yesterday, Arcadia may have been a safer Pool C lock. That said, odds are good that they will make the tournament field, with an 815/533 resume, but there’s a good chance they sit on the table for 17 or 18 rounds before being picked. Having a win percentage above .800 will help, though.

Willamette: Like Arcadia, I think Willamette is “bubble-in” as it stands right now. Why? In an interesting situation, Willamette losing to Puget Sound on Friday, and Puget then winning the NWC title means Puget will be regionally ranked. And Willamette already has two wins over Puget Sound this season, which gives the Bearcats two additional RRO wins, which keeps them relevant within Pool C. The .739 win percentage means Willamette will be sitting there until the late rounds, most likely, but an impressive 5-2 record v/RROs stands out. The SOS overall is .528, which is certainly Pool C viable.

Concordia-Moorhead: Out of Region 9, Concordia is a quality program in the MIAC, and the MIAC tournament runner-up. The 800/543 resume is solid, and this resume is very similar to what Arcadia has (with the 1-3 v/RROs), which is why these are “bubble-in” teams. But I think it is going to be close.

Baldwin Wallace: Compared to some of the other teams I have towards the later rounds, I think BW’s 769/566 resume stacks up fairly well, especially because the Yellowjackets are likely to be ahead of Marietta in Region 7, which could make a significant difference, considering BW will get to the Pool C table first in that scenario.

On the bubble (50/50 odds)
Marietta: The Pioneers will need BW to be picked before they can get to the table, so it’s a tough process when you’re in this spot. Marietta’s resume, at 778/552, is Pool C viable, but the question is, will they get to the table soon enough? I think so, and I’m leaning “bubble-in” on the Pioneers.

Loras: Another situation where a team will get to the table very late in the process. Loras has a decent 852/532 resume, but holds only one regionally-ranked win (over Elizabethtown in Puerto Rico). With Concordia (MN) likely to be ahead of Loras in the process, Loras may only be on the board for the final 2 or 3 rounds.

MIT: Out of the NEWMAC, MIT will be in contention for one of those final spots…I’m not sure if their .587 SOS makes up for the .704 win percentage, though. That’s the concern here for MIT. Along with a 2-7 record v/RROs. How much value are we going to place on going .222 against regionally-ranked opponents? Scheduling good teams and taking losses in the majority of those games isn’t something that should offset such a low win percentage, in my opinion. But we will see.

Whitman: Whitman may not get to the table until the final 4 or 5 rounds, which will make it difficult. The 750/527 resume is solid and 3-3 v/RROs is worth noting. But does it get Whitman in? I can see a situation where it does, but the question becomes if the .527 SOS is too low. With a sub-.800 win percentage, it seems that having an SOS above .545 is necessary, but that isn’t always the case.

On the outside looking in…
Elizabethtown: With the bid thieves involved, Elizabethtown is in a tough spot. Region 5 is stacked, but Elizabethtown will be on the table for at least 8 or 9 rounds. That said, the .704 win percentage is interesting. Much like MIT, how will the committee grade a team with a low win percentage and an SOS below .600? ETown is at 704/555 right now, and 1-6 v/RROs, with a win over Scranton, which could end up being a win over a region No. 1 depending on how much emphasis the committee places on yesterday’s win for Scranton over Catholic in the Landmark title game. That will help ETown’s case, but will it be enough? We’ll have to find out. As it stands right now, the Blue Jays are on the bubble, but on the outside of the Top 21 Pool C resumes.

Ohio Wesleyan: The Battling Bishops lost, 56-53, to DePauw in yesterday’s NCAC final, and while OWU will move up to No. 5 in Region 7, most likely, I think OWU may have a difficult time even reaching the Pool C table. Marietta is likely to block OWU from getting there until at least Round 20. Which will make it tough for OWU, whose resume currently sits at 778/521.

Ithaca: The No. 3 team out of the Liberty League, Ithaca’s chances are very slim. The 778/525 resume includes a 3-6 record v/RROs, and to make matters worse, if Vassar beats Skidmore today, Skidmore is likely to block Ithaca from ever even reaching the Pool C table, much less being selected.

Middlebury: This is tough for Middlebury, who challenged Bowdoin for four quarters in yesterday’s NESCAC semifinal, yet came up short. Middlebury will likely be left out, even with a .607 SOS considering the .654 win percentage. They’ll get to the table, but being selected is a different story. The general thought is that you need a win percentage above .667, and while that is not a hard line in the sand from what I have heard, .654 seems way too low.

How do today’s games affect Pool C?
Vassar/Skidmore (Liberty League title game): Vassar is the projected Pool A according to Scott Peterson’s model, while Skidmore sits firmly on the bubble. If Vassar wins, Skidmore will be in contention for one of the final Pool C spots and its 834/510 resume will be put to the test. Vassar losing creates an interesting scenario in which someone’s Pool C bubble pops, as I don’t see Vassar missing the tournament, despite its .476 SOS. But how soon would Vassar be picked? That’s the big question.

Babson/Smith (NEWMAC title game): Potential bid thief situation here. Everyone on the bubble, and I mean everyone, needs to be rooting for Smith today. Because Smith is in the tournament as the projected NEWMAC champ, so a Babson upset would mean both Babson and Smith get in, which takes another Pool C spot. So if you’re a bubble team, make sure you’re keeping up with that game in the northeast. It might be the most impactful game of the day for Pool C.

Shenandoah/Washington & Lee (ODAC title game): Shenandoah is on the outside looking in, so this is another bid thief situation. W&L is the favorite in this one, so the Generals winning would simply give W&L the AQ. If Shenandoah wins, now we get into a situation where W&L takes a Pool C spot. Even with a slightly lower win percentage, W&L is getting into the tournament field…I feel pretty confident on that. So bubble teams, being paying attention to this one as well.

Colorado College/Trinity TX (SCAC title game): There aren’t a ton of implications, even within Region 10, on this one. If Trinity loses, the Tigers remain behind UMHB and Willamette, and likely will not get to the table until the later rounds. In fact, this is a must-win game for Trinity to get into the NCAA Tournament itself from what I’m seeing, so that will certainly heighten the intensity. But point being, a Trinity loss or a Trinity win doesn’t affect a whole lot. It would, however, mean an additional flight for the committee to figure out, as Colorado College is unable to bus to any of the potential hosting sites.

Centre/Millsaps (SAA title game): Neither of these teams are in contention for Pool C. It is win or go home in Jackson, Mississippi! Bracketology note though: Centre can easily get to Transylvania and is also within 500 miles of Hope. Millsaps? Nowhere within 500 miles. Not Transylvania or Hardin-Simmons. So likely a flight there if Millsaps wins the SAA.

Gettysburg/Johns Hopkins (Centennial title game): Both teams are in the tournament, either as Pool A or Pool C. So not a ton of implications here, either. Winner likely hosts a first weekend pod.

St. Norbert/Wisconsin Lutheran (NACC title game): Neither team is Pool C viable, so this is another must-win game for both teams.

Bowdoin/Bates (NESCAC title game): Both teams are in, either by Pool A or Pool C. I think there’s a likely chance that both teams end up hosting as well.

Let me know any questions/comments you have! Happy to answer anything as it relates to this Pool C process as best as I can. Leave a comment below or email me at DMs are also open on Twitter (@ZayasRiley).

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