Bracket Projections: MD3 III First Attempt
One of the more daunting propositions on Selection weekend is to try and put together a coherent NCAA Division III tournament bracket. Pinpointing the teams isn't too difficult, although I've missed my share (I had Haverford getting the last at-large berth last year instead of Nazareth). It's the seeding that is a bit more difficult for me.
I'll admit to you up front: I'm not a number cruncher. I don't have the patience, and frankly I'd rather write a story than pour over spreadsheets of RPIs, SOSs and whatever else the committee has at its disposal. I use more of a dead-reckoning approach, which typical gets me close enough.
So let's get to it. We'll start with what we know – the Pool A, or the automatic qualifiers as they are often known. There are still four AQs to be determined on Sunday (Liberty, NESCAC, Centennial and ODAC), but we've got 14 in the bank so far. Here's what we have, and what I'm projecting for tomorrow (designated with an asterisk).
Pool A - Auto Qualifiers (18)
Eastern Conn. (Little East)
Montclair State (Skyline)
Mt. Ida (GNAC)
New England College (NAC)
Stevens (Empire 8)
Western New England (CCC)
Alright, moving on to Pool B, which are three spots reserved for independents or for those teams in a conference that don't meet the AQ requirements. It seems kind of fitting that the NCAC would sweep all three in its final season in Pool B. The league is adding a couple of teams next year (Hiram, DePauw), which will push it over the seven-team benchmark for getting an AQ.
These are my Pool Bs: Denison, Kenyon, Ohio Wesleyan.
Now we move into the most difficult part of the prognostication – Pool C, or the at-larges. There are seven this year, which has predictably made it more difficult than in years past with four or five. Honestly, the first six seem relatively clear to me, but the last slot has a handful of teams in the running. I've opted for St. Lawrence at this point, but I could see that changing as I dive a little deeper tomorrow in my second attempt.
Pool C – At-large (7)
So those are the 28 teams I have moving through at this point. After seeding them and balancing the brackets, the following is what I've devised for Wednesday's and Saturday's first two rounds of games.
Trinity at Springfield
New England College at Bowdoin
Eastern Conn. at Western New England
Mt. Ida at RIT
Montclair State at Union
St. Lawrence at Stevens
Washington College at Goucher
Ohio Wesleyan at Dickinson
Eastern at Cabrini
Birmingham-Southern at Stevenson
Kenyon at Denison
Adrian at Gettysburg
Trinity/Springfield winner at Cortland
NEC/Bowdoin winner vs. EConn/WNE winner
Mt. Ida/RIT winner vs. Montclair/Union winner
St. Lawrence/Stevens winner at Tufts
WAC/Goucher winner at Salisbury
OWU/Dickinson winner vs. Eastern/Cabrini winner
BSC/Stevenson winner vs. Denison/Kenyon winner
Adrian/Gettysburg winner at Lynchburg