Which result from last week caught your eye the most?
Ramius: I’ll be honest, I would have lost a lot of money if someone asked me to bet on who would win between Carthage and Dominican this season, like, a lot of money, Scrooge McDuck amounts of money. But in the era of rally scoring upsets like this happen, it’s why no team ever has a 100% chance of victory when looking at probability-based models like the D3VB men’s top 100 or the former Pablo Power Rankings. Dominican did what they needed to do to win, so hats off to them.
Obviously, the other big results I kept an eye on came from the UVC, with Vassar securing the #1 seed with victories over New Paltz and NYU. While Vassar has been dominant in conference play this year, nobody in the UVC will underestimate the significance of the top seed in the tournament with a first-round bye.
Harvey: Two results out in the Midwest. Dominican clipping the Firebirds was a big shock to everyone. Are the Stars going to be a player in the wide-open NACC?
Additionally, Mount Union sweeping Baldwin Wallace puts them in prime position to host the entirety of the MCVL Tournament.
Lindsay: I know I’ve talked about Southern Virginia a few times, but if you haven’t seen the 1 handed block by Christian Shaeffer go over to the FJ TikTok or Insta right now, I’ll wait. It’s the block of the year. SVU looked good in that match vs Marymount, and I expect them to at least make things interesting for Juniata.
On the other side of the coin, MIT is having a troubling March, going 2-7 with Elmira next. Unless they catch fire, they’re going to finish under .500 and they’re in danger of not winning a UVC match. That’s really surprising to me given the talent they have on the roster. They have depth, pedigree and Nicholas Gustavson has been solid on the RS this year. Maybe they can finish on a high note with some good teams slated for April.
We are officially in the end game of the season, with only a few short weeks till Conference championships. Given the results we’ve seen so far, which conferences do you think are most likely to send multiple teams to the NCAA tournament?
Ramius: As of this moment, I think the MAC and CVC are the conferences most likely to send multiple teams to the NCAA championship. I honestly don’t think there are enough games left in the season for Stevens, Messiah, and Juniata to lose to derail their at-large chances, their resumes are that good this year.
While we’ll get a better picture of the at-large bid scenario this week when the first regional rankings come out, at this moment I’d say the UVC and CCIW are behind the 8-ball. The only team in the UVC I’d say is guaranteed a bid is Vassar as they have several notable wins over the teams I expect to be featured in the regional rankings with only one loss to Stevens. North Central I could see being able to get a bid if Carthage wins, while Carthage might have a slim path since their only bad loss is Dominican.
Harvey: I think the MAC has two locks at this point in Stevens and Messiah. It would take a near collapse from both programs to miss out. The CVC is the most interesting with who lands in spot #2 if Juniata earns the automatic qualifier.
Lindsay: If the teams that Harvey mentioned all do what they’re supposed to, what does the UVC look like? I think Vassar has a stranglehold on a bid, but if they get the auto bid, I’m not sure whoever finishes second is locked in for a spot this year.
In that same vein, which conference “favorites” do you think have the toughest path to secure their Pool A bid?
Ramius: I think Juniata and Vassar currently have the hardest paths to their championships. While I slightly favor Juniata in the CVC they will have to go through Southern Virginia at some point. From a pool of New Paltz, NYU, St. John Fisher, Elmira, and Nazareth, Vassar will have to play two of those teams. Even given their dominance of the conference I’ve seen to many UVC upsets to guarantee anything here.
Harvey: If Benedictine is considered the favorite for the NACC, I think that conference is going to be a dogfight. Specifically, Aurora playing some great ball right now, winners of 9 straight.
Lindsay:. A lot of Midwest talk today and I’m here for it. The CCIW is so interesting right now. North Central is firing on all cylinders at the moment, but you can’t discount the Carthage experience. I’d bet that Loras feels like they can beat either of those teams on any given day. I’m definitely not here to tell the Duhawks they can’t do it.
Matches you have your eyes on this week? Any upset picks?
Ramius: A marquee matchup for the casual fan will be round two of Vassar vs Springfield on Friday, but we’ll St. John Fisher and Nazareth will be playing that day as well with big conference implications on the line. Granted, Harvey is going to highlight the game I’m most excited to watch below out in the MAC.
Harvey: An absolutely loaded Wednesday night. Arcadia @ Messiah – NYU @ New Paltz – Carthage @ Loras – WIT @ Nichols
And I am not sure if this falls in upset territory, but Stevens and Messiah have a massive showdown this Saturday. Messiah has the service pressure to make the Ducks uncomfortable and Mason Nissley tends to bring his best when the lights are brightest.
Lindsay: Vassar vs Springfield part 2. Looking at Springfields schedule, they’ve only played one ranked team since that Feb 16 matchup, beating New Paltz in five a few weeks back. That being said, Vassar has a really tough stretch of matches so I can see Springfield being fresh and ready the second time around.
While it doesn’t hold much significance, Maybe the most fun match of the weekend is New Paltz vs St. Joseph Long Island. I’d guess about 80% of those rosters have played with or against each other a million times. I’m going with the Golden Eagles in five.
Who’s your personal top 5?
Ramius: Stevens, Vassar, Springfield, Juniata, NCC
Harvey: Stevens, Vassar, Springfield, Juniata, Messiah
Lindsay: Vassar, Stevens, Springfield, Juniata, NCC