April 29, 2009

Coyne: Predicting the NCAA WD3 Tourney

by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Coyne Archive

LMO small college beat writer Jac Coyne has undertaken the thankless (and useless) task of predicting the men's and women's Division II and Division III tournaments, along with the MCLA. Below is his WD3 offering.

Elizabeth Rave and the Continentals picked up an automatic bid on Saturday, beating Union, 4-3 in overtime to capture the Liberty title
© Brendan Bush

[Update - 12:07 p.m., Sunday]

Okay, let's start fresh here on a Sunday morning and see what we can put together.

First, in my late-night haze on Saturday, I missed the fact that Stevens had been upended by St. John Fisher in the Empire 8 semifinals, sending the Ducks into Pool C with a pretty decent resume.

I have submitted a new bracket at the bottom of this page. There are four more AQs to be settled on Sunday afternoon, and I'm still not 100 percent comfortable with my at-large picks, so I'll shoot for my final prediction sometime this afteroon.

Pool A (15) - Automatic Qualifiers (predicted winners italicized, confirmed are bolded)
Babson (NEWMAC)
Cortland (SUNYAC)
Christopher Newport (USA South)
Keene State (Little East)
Messiah (MAC)
Endicott (CCC)
Farmingdale (Skyline)
Franklin & Marshall (Centennial)
Cabrini (CSAC)
Roanoke (ODAC)
Salisbury (CAC)
RIT (Empire 8)
Colby (NESCAC)
Hamilton (Liberty)
Wooster (NCAC)

Pool B (5) - For independents and non-AQ conference teams
Adrian (10-4) - You might be a bit surprised to see this second-year program cracking the Pool B hierarchy, but the Bulldogs have played a decent schedule, which includes Roanoke and Catholic. The key victory for Adrian was a convincing, 15-9 victory over Colorado College, knocking out their chief competitor for a berth.

Catholic (15-3) - The Cardinals stumbled last weekend to Drew, but the worst they will finish is 14-4, which is plenty considering CUA's strength of schedule.

Claremont (12-1) - The Athenas play a relatively weak schedule (their lone loss is a 15-7 setback to Conn. College, the last placed team in the NESCAC), but they have a pretty record and the magical win over Colorado College.

Drew (10-7) - The Rangers are going to finish 10-7 or 11-6, but either way they've got to be in. I passed by Drew in my initial look at Pool B, but their win last weekend over Catholic caught my eye. On further inspection, it was clear they deserve a bid.

TCNJ (15-2) - The Lions need no introduction. You knew they'd be here.

Pool C (6) - For remaining teams in AQ conference
Tufts (14-2) - Tufts bows out in the NESCAC semifinals, but the Jumbos can rest relatively easy. They don't have the strongest non-conference schedule, but the league slate should do the trick.

Gettysburg (14-3) - The Bullets have lost to TCNJ and F&M twice. They're in.

Union (14-3) - Hamilton managed to beat Union in the Liberty finals - technically an upset, but those two teams are pretty even. The Dutchwomen are easily into the tournament, they just cost themselves a regional with the setback.

Stevens (15-2) - Do the Ducks have a good enough schedule to bump William Smith, Middlebury and Washington & Lee out of the mix? Or even Elizbethtown, for that matter? We'll assume so for right now.

St. Mary's (12-5) - The Capital is going to get a second bid, but who should it go to? The margin between St. Mary's and Mary Washington is razor close. They split head-to-head (with MWC winning the most recent game), St. Mary's beat Roanoke but lost to W&L, Mary Washington beat W&L but lost to Roanoke. The Seahawks winning percentage is better, but only because the Eagles (13-7) played three more games. This one could go either way, and I wouldn't be stunned if Mary Washington got it, but I'm going with St. Mary's.

Williams (12-5) - So long William Smith. Through no fault of their own, the Herons get the gate while the Ephs slip into this spot. Two wins over Tufts, wins over Union and Trinity, along with a NESCAC finals appearance should be enough to get Williams into the dance.

WD3 Bracket
First Round - May 6

Claremont at Cabrni
Drew at St. Mary's
Christopher Newport at Gettysburg

Cortland at Stevens
RIT at Catholic

Endicott at Babson
Keene at Williams

Farmingdale at Union
Messiah at Roanoke
Adrian at Wooster

Second Round - May 9

Claremont/Cabrini winner at Salisbury
SMC/Drew winner vs. CNU/Gettysburg winner (at Salisbury)

Stevens/Cortland winner vs Tufts (at Hamilton)
RIT/Catholic winner at Hamilton

Endicott/Babson winner at Colby
Keene/Williams winner vs. TCNJ (at Colby)

Farmingdale/Union winner vs. Roanoke/Messiah winner (at F&M)
Adrian/Wooster winner at F&M

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