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Bracketology 2022 – Part II

Disclaimer

Fair warning, I’m not an expert when it comes to the ranking process, and I’ve never been involved in one personally. But I’ve done enough homework to feel confident in my ability to project certain decisions based on the available data released by the NCAA. This article is a general well-informed guess as to how things might play out given the trends of this season and the general performances of D3VB teams up to this point. There is a lot of ball left to be played, and another round of rankings to be released, so the final picture isn’t set yet. Simply put, my thoughts don’t matter in the grand scheme of things so take them for what you will.

2nd Regional Rankings

The rankings released yesterday are the first ones to include a numerical order of teams within each Region. This is because the committee now has access to officially ranked teams (based on last weeks ranking) and can accurately assess every programs performance against regionally ranked opponents. We’ve had A BUNCH of consequential matches the last few days, and I’ll discuss how they impact things moving forward later.

For reference, the primary NCAA ranking criteria are as follows…

  1. D3 Win/Loss %
  2. Strength of Schedule
  3. Win/Loss versus Regionally Ranked teams
  4. Record versus Common Opponents
  5. Head-to-Head Result

Region I

TeamD3 Win/Loss %Ranked Win/LossD3 SOSOverall W/L
Springfield21-1 (.955)10-1 (.909).65022-1 (.957)
Wentworth22-4 (.846)4-2 (.667).53822-4 (.846)
St. Joes – LI20-3 (.870)4-2 (.667).50920-3 (.870)
Lasell17-7 (.708)3-4 (.429).57417-8 (.680)
Rivier13-8 (.619)1-6 (.143).59313-8 (.619)
NJCU17-8 (.680)1-6 (.143).52617-8 (.680)
Ramapo12-10 (.545)1-9 (.100).59512-10 (.545)

Region II

TeamD3 Win/Loss %Ranked Win/LossD3 SOSOverall W/L
Rutgers-Newark20-2 (.909)5-2 (.714).62920-3 (.870)
Stevens25-3 (.893)9-3 (.750).61825-3 (.893)
SVU15-2 (.882)2-2 (.500).65515-3 (.833)
Stevenson18-7 (.720)5-5 (.500).66818-8 (.692)
New Paltz14-4 (.778)5-4 (.556).63817-4 (.810)
Vassar14-5 (.737)3-4 (.429).65714-5 (.737)
Marymount21-6 (.778)4-5 (.444).62021-7 (.750)

Region III

TeamD3 Win/Loss %Ranked Win/LossD3 SOSOverall W/L
Carthage15-3 (.833)6-2 (.750).61015-3 (.833)
North Central17-2 (.895)6-2 (.750).57817-2 (.895)
Dominican19-1 (.950)6-1 (.857).55619-1 (.950)
Cal Lutheran13-6 (.684)3-6 (.333).62916-9 (.640)
Aurora14-8 (.636)2-5 (.286).57214-9 (.609)
Benedictine13-5 (.722)1-5 (.167).53713-7 (.650)
MSOE12-6 (.667)2-5 (.286).55314-7 (.667)
Loras19-5 (.792)3-3 (.500).52120-5 (.800)

There was a lot of movement between week 1 and week 2, and it was largely due to the addition of the win/loss record versus ranked team category alongside the results of some significant regional matches prior to 3/29. These rankings were made using match data through March 29th … meaning my projected tournament field below can only use data up to that point as well. Assuming the favorites (#1 seeds) of each conference take care of business, my projected pool A bids are as follows.

Pool A

CCIW: Carthage
NACC: Dominican
MCVL: Fontbonne
UVC: New Paltz
CVC: Rutgers-Newark
MAC: Stevens
GNAC: Wentworth
NECC: Endicott
AMCC: PSU – Behrend
SKYLINE: St. Joseph’s College – Long Island
CUNYAC: Hunter / Baruch (yes, Baruch is slated to host as they have the 1 seed on tiebreakers, but Hunter just defeated them 3-1).

Given the above Pool A selections…. I believe the results/match data currently available would lead to the below selections for Pool B/C bids…. If the season were to have ended on March 29th.

Pool B: Springfield (not even a close decision).

Pool C: Southern Virginia
Pool C: North Central
Pool C: Stevenson
Pool C: Vassar (they’d be the last team in under the above scenario)

HOWEVER, the season did not end on March 29th…and there are a lot of scenarios which can play out till then which will influence different teams’ chances for at-large bids. In fact, some have already occurred.

Region II is currently dominating the at-large discussion for a variety of reasons, but most importantly because strength of schedule matters. Region II has the largest collection of quality programs out of all 3 regions, and the above ranked teams have challenged themselves the most throughout the year. This shouldn’t shock anyone.

Further, of all the teams in the landscape, the only two teams I’m looking at that I could confidently say are locked into at-large bids regardless of any end of season meltdown come from region II; Rutgers-Newark and Southern Virginia. I’m not counting Springfield specifically because they are the only team from Region I who could possibly win a Pool C bid and they are essentially locked for the single Pool B bid.

Loras defeating North Central is a huge blow to NCC’s at large chances following the Cardinals second loss to Carthage; specifically, because of the overwhelming strength of resumes from region II in comparison to Region III. This factor may be what gives Dominican the ability to jump up to 2nd in Region III next week despite their loss to North Central; the Stars win over Stevenson (4th in region II) will look a lot more impressive to the committee than North Centrals region III ranked wins.

Messiah getting two wins over Stevenson is significant, but not because it will propel them into regional rankings. There’s just too big a gap between them and the first seven, not to mention head-to-head losses to #7 Marymount and unranked Juniata. Their SOS (.565) is also low in comparison to the first 7 of Region II (no program is below .618).

Not many teams have “handled” Stevenson the way Messiah did last week, which is why it’s significant. The Falcons performance metrics were rising steadily in the FrogJump Top 20, and the victories showed Messiah can compete for, and win, the MAC Championship.

Let me be very clear, because the significance of what I’m about to say shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Messiah winning the MAC is a NIGHTMARE situation for almost everyone without a Pool A bid, as it puts Stevens into the Pool C discussion while also giving Stevens an in-region loss to an unranked team. All eyes should be on Pennsylvania this weekend when Messiah takes on Stevens, because the winner of this match will secure the #1 seed in the MAC and inch just a little closer to an NCAA bid while determining the fates of quite a few teams in April.

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