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Bracketology: Part III

Pride Men’s Volleyball hosts Vassar during the International Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic at Springfield College’s Blake Arena on Friday, February 4, 2022.

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.

3rd Regional Rankings

The committee released the third regional rankings this past Wednesday, and playoff Volleyball has officially kicked off. The future of the NCAA landscape is currently being decided as I write this, and much of what I write now may very well be irrelevant based on results from today through tomorrow. I’ll do my best to give you an up to date picture now, and will most assuredly give you a final bracketology prediction once all the conference champions have been confirmed Sunday. Below is where things currently stand in the regional rankings as of 4/6/2022 (obviously matches have been played since, but we’ll get to that later).

Region I

RankProgramWin/LossW/L vs RankedSOSOverall Record
1Springfield24-111-1 (.917)0.64925-1
2Wentworth26-45-2 (.714)0.52526-4
3Lasell21-73-4 (.429)0.55421-8
4St. Joseph’s (L.I.)23-35-2 (.714)0.50123-3
5Rivier16-91-7 (.125)0.57216-9
6New Jersey City21-81-6 (.143)0.50421-8
7Endicott15-60-5 (0)0.55117-6

Region II

RankProgramW/LW/L vs RankedSOSOverall Record
1Rutgers-Newark20-25-2 (.714)0.62520-3
2Stevens26-310-3 (.769)0.61526-3
3Southern Virginia17-22-2 (.5)0.64517-3
4Stevenson20-85-5 (.5)0.64420-9
5SUNY New Paltz16-56-5 (.545)0.65319-5
6Vassar17-54-4 (.5)0.62917-5
7Marymount (VA)22-64-5 (.444)0.61622-7

Region III

RankProgramW/LW/L vs RankedSOSOverall Record
1Carthage18-37-2 (.778)0.59718-3
2Dominican (IL)22-16-1 (.857)0.5522-1
3North Central (IL)18-36-3 (.667)0.56918-3
4Cal Lutheran13-63-6 (.333)0.62816-9
5Loras20-82-5 (.286)0.54121-6
6Aurora16-82-6 (.250)0.5516-9
7Benedictine (IL)14-62-5 (.286)0.54914-8
8MSOE13-82-7 (.222)0.57115-9

There was a lot of significant movement from last week, notably Dominican jumping NCC in region III and Endicott bumping Ramapo out of Region I. This benefits Dominican mostly if they lose the NACC (which is the most unlikely outcome) and benefits everyone who played Endicott this year. Likewise, this negatively affects anyone who had Ramapo on their schedule as they will no longer count as a regionally ranked W/L when the committee makes final selections for Pool C bids.

Below is my projected Pool A field if things ended on 4/6 (obviously, things haven’t).

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

Given the above Pool A field, I believe the Pool B/C selections would be as follows (for the above scenario).

Pool B: Springfield (yawn)

Pool C: Southern Virginia
Pool C: NCC
Pool C: Stevenson
Pool C: Vassar (last team in)

HOWEVER… The season did not end on 4/6, championships are being played out as we speak, and there are a bunch of scenarios the landscape needs to keep an eye on if they’re planning to go dancing in April.

The Pool A field I listed above is only based on if the #1 seeds in each conference take care of business and win their championships. While plausible, this doesn’t always occur. For any of you who remember the 2019 season, there were a few #1 conference seeds who didn’t win their championships. This happens, often. Of the conferences above, the CVC, the MAC, and the UVC will be the most heavily contested Pool A bids given the tournament field of each conference.

The CVC outcome is probably the most boring BARRING one condition. Rutgers and Southern Virginia have resumes which give me a 95 % confidence interval to say they’re going to the dance if they both make the finals, but people need to remember Juniata is good. Southern Virginia losing to Juniata in the semi’s of the CVC would be a poorly timed unranked loss for a program that only played 3 regionally ranked teams all year (Stevenson 2x, Rutgers, and Marymount). If Juniata would shock the world and down Southern Virginia AND Rutgers… woof.

The UVC and the MAC I suspect are the two tournaments with the highest likelihood of having a different champion than the #1 seed, and their outcomes generate interesting Pool C outcomes. Messiah defeating Stevenson for the 3rd time this season puts the nightmare scenario into play for everyone, and their 5-set loss to Stevens last week was about as even as a match one could lose. Messiah winning the MAC bumps Stevens into the Pool C discussion, and at this point Stevens is as good as locked in my view to go to the tournament.

New Paltz went 7-0 in UVC play this year to the shock of everyone who wasn’t a New Paltz alumni, but in my view has the hardest tournament to win. The UVC is considered one of the power conferences of D3VB, and normally sends multiple teams to the NCAA tournament. But this is likely one of the odd years where the UVC will be a one bid conference.

New Paltz and Vassar are the only two UVC teams with shots for an at-large bid as they are the only two regionally ranked UVC programs. Vassar’s at large bid chances are “good” only in the above Pool A scenario I layed out, where every conference favorite wins their Championship and there are no hard Pool C decisions. If both Vassar and New Paltz lose in the UVC tournament, Vassar’s season is over.

For New Paltz, it all depends on where they finish in the tournament, who they lose to, and how the final numbers look. Losing to Vassar in the finals, not a bad outcome as Vassar is regionally ranked. Losing to NYU/Naz in the semi’s or St. John Fisher/Elmira in the finals… horrible outcome as those teams aren’t regionally ranked. New Paltz would then take Vassar’s place as the possible last team in, assuming there were no other conference upsets and they’re not fighting with teams like Stevens, SVU, Rutgers, and NCC all at once.

Bradley says it every year, if you want to go to the NCAA tournament, win your conference championship. It’s that simple. Get after it.

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