ATN: Down the stretch they come

Marymount simplified the CAC women's tiebreaker scenario by beating Christopher Newport on Wednesday, but they can muss it up again if they beat Mary Washington next Wednesday
Marymount athletics photo

 

We have just ten short days left in the regular season for most teams (some will start their conference tournaments a little earlier and the UAA, without a tournament, will play a little later). It seems like a good time to run down the present situation for each conference and point out teams to watch across the country for this stretch run.

  • Conference standings: Men | Women
  • First set of NCAA regional rankings: Men | Women
  • 2016 Conference tournament tracker: Men | Women

AMCC

Tourney berths: 6
Berths clinched: 6 for men, 2 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 0 for men, 7 for women

All six spots on the men’s side are secure. Medaille has a two game lead at the top with three to play, none of which are against any of the three teams that can catch them; Medaille holds the tiebreaker with all three. On the women’s side, undefeated-in-conference LaRoche has locked up the top seed, but Hilbert, currently out of the playoffs, still faces both teams right ahead of them – and the game against Mt. Aloysius on February 18 could be for that last spot.

ASC

Tourney berths: 8
Berths clinched: 3 for men, 5 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 7 for men, 6 for women

On the women’s side, Texas-Dallas has three games left to play, but they only need one win to secure the top seed in the East Division; they have a rematch with second place Texas-Tyler on February 18 and the Comets already won the first game 82-69 in January. Howard Payne secured the West division with a win last night. On the men’s side, LeTourneau has already clinched top seed in the East, while Concordia (Tex.) and Hardin-Simmons are tied in the loss column in the West. They play on February 16 – if both teams hold serve, a Concordia win earns them the tiebreaker. The top seed in the west gets hosting rights this year so the women's teams know where they're going and the men's teams will watch for that Concordia-HSU result. 

CAC

Tourney berths: 6
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 6 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 7 for men, 0 for women

On the women’s side, our coin flip scenario is likely out the window. If Christopher Newport and Mary Washington finished the season with the same record and only had losses to each other, that's how the CAC would've determined top seed. If Marymount can follow its upset of CNU with one over Mary Washington on February 15, then it’s back to flipping. Even after the loss, though, CNU will have to drop one more game to lose their first round bye. For the men, CNU and Salisbury have the byes wrapped up, but it’s a free for all below. Ninth place Frostburg State is only a game out of the final playoff spot with three to play and even third place York (Pa) has to win one more to secure a post-season bid – and if that win happens to be over Christopher Newport on , we might have a coin flip for first place on the men’s side as well. 

Centennial

Tourney berths: 5
Berths clinched: 2 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 each for men and women

The Swarthmore men host Johns Hopkins on Saturday; the winner has the inside track on the top seed. Ursinus and Dickinson also play Saturday, with the winner assured a playoff spot. Franklin & Marshall owns a two game lead on Muhlenberg for the final place, but has to win at Washington College to really feel confident. For the women, Haverford has a game on Muhlenberg with the tiebreaker. Both teams still face McDaniel, who probably has to win both games for even a shot at the final playoff spot. 

CUNYAC

Tourney berths: 8
Berths clinched: 7 for men, 6 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 2 for men, 3 for women

The CUNYAC finishes conference play on Monday. Eight of the nine conference teams make the tournament, so it’s wide open. The top two seeds, however, get double byes, so those spots are important. On the men’s side, undefeated-in-conference Staten Island had the top seed locked up, and Lehman probably has to be the first to beat them to hold off CCNY for second. Brooklyn and York (NY) play on Monday; the winner gets the final playoff spot. For the women, Brooklyn has the inside track on top seed, but Lehman versus Staten Island tonight should determine second place.

CCIW

Tourney berths: 4
Berth clinched: 1 for men, 0 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 6 for women

The Carthage and North Central women are in precarious mathematical situations, but if either one can knock off Illinois Wesleyan, things could get interesting for the final playoff spots. However, if games go to form, IWU and Wheaton, currently tied at the top, will battle for hosting rights on February 21. On the men’s side, Augustana has clinched a playoff spot and secured a comfortable lead, but beating Carroll on Saturday will sure make it easier to breathe at the top. Meanwhile there are six teams, within two games of each other, fighting for three spots. 

CSAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 5 for men, 6 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 2 for men, 0 for women

On the women’s side, Marywood is two games clear with three to play and Immaculata is solidly in sixth, two games behind fifth, but Centenary, Neumann, Cabrini, and Gwynedd-Mercy are all tied at 10-3. They are likely to remain tied until February 18 when the six playoff teams all face each other. For the men, Centenary needs just one win out of three to clinch the final playoff spot. Neumann’s first conference loss this week makes things more interesting, especially since the Knights and Cavs play again on Wednesday.

CCC

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 7 each for men and women

Teams still in the hunt: 2 for men, 2 for women

The Salve Regina women have to win just one game to clinch the final playoff spot. Roger Williams is a game ahead, but if they lose to Western New England on February 14, they’ll fall into a tie with UNE that will end up in the fifth tiebreaker (winning percentage vs all opponents with a .500 or better record). There could be some interesting tiebreakers on the men’s side as well. Nichols, Endicott, and Roger Williams have identical 12-3 records. Endicott and Roger Williams play Saturday, but Nichols owns the tiebreaker over both. Western New England would have to beat two of those top three to steal the final playoff spot away from UNE.

MAC Commonwealth

Tourney Berths: 5
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 5 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 7 for men, 0 for women

For the women, if Albright beats Lycoming on Saturday, the Lions' final match-up with second place, Messiah, will only matter for Pool C consideration. Lycoming and Lebanon Valley will duke it out on the 14th, likely for the right to host the other in the 4/5 tourney game. The men are typically tight. Lycoming has secured a playoff spot, but the first seven teams are within three games. Lycoming does face both Albright and Lebanon Valley (tied for second) in its next two games.

Empire 8

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 for men, 3 for women

On the women’s side, Ithaca, Hartwick, and Stevens are all sitting at the top of the standings with two losses. It is a battle for survival down the stretch, but Ithaca and Hartwick meet up tomorrow, the only matchup between those top three left on the schedule. For the men, St. John Fisher has a game on Stevens, but they play on February 17; a Stevens win could throw it to a tiebreaker, which would be decided based on records against the team finishing third – which could be Nazareth, Hartwick, Utica, or Alfred at this point.

MAC Freedom

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 3 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 3 each for men and women

The Delaware Valley men control their own destiny, but that would include beating both teams in front on them: Eastern and DeSales, a tall task. Misericordia and Wilkes play tomorrow, with the winner getting the inside track for the final playoff spot. On the women’s side, FDU-Florham is a game ahead, with tiebreakers in hand and they don’t have to play either of the teams who can challenge them. Eastern plays Manhattanville and Delaware Valley in its next two games; those wins would secure the final playoff spot.

GNAC

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 5 for men, 8 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 for men, 0 for women

Weather postponements have made a mess of the GNAC’s final week. Albertus Magnus is atop the men’s standings, but even one loss could jeopardize their top seed. At the bottom, Anna Maria could win out, but still not secure the final playoff spot, because Norwich has two extra games still to make-up. The GNAC women have gone to divisions this year and the four teams from each are set. St. Joe’s (ME) has the top spot in the North, but Emmanuel, Suffolk, and Johnson & Wales still have to battle it out in the South.

HCAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 5 for men, 2 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 for men, 5 for womeN

Rose-Hulman is up two games with three to play and the tiebreaker over second place Bluffton on the women’s side. Manchester is two games out of the final playoff spot, but their schedule is favorable – a win over Defiance on February 15th could put them in. Hanover plays Mt. St Joseph, also on the 15th; that game will almost certainly decide the men’s top seed.

Independents

There is no Pool B bid on the men’s side this year and none of the teams have any legitimate chance of securing a Pool C position. The women, however, do have one Pool B bid. UC Santa Cruz is 8-5 against Division III competition and Valley Forge is 8-2 with two more, very winnable, Division III games remaining. Maranatha Baptist is 4-3. One of those teams will be getting a bid; my guess is Valley Forge, especially if they’re 10-2.

IIAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 3 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 each for men and women

The Wartburg women have the top seed sewn up. The lower seeds will be much clearer tomorrow when all of the teams contending for the final tourney places square off against each other. For the men, Buena Vista and Nebraska Wesleyan each have 10 wins, but BVU has one less loss and three games against the bottom half of the standings; they are definitely the favorite, though tiebreakers could go very deep if it comes to that.

Landmark

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 3 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 2 for men, 3 for women

The Catholic women play Scranton tomorrow; a win there seals the top seed, but a loss could make the February 18 matchup with Moravian a de facto regular season championship game. Drew, Elizabethtown, and Susquehanna battle for the fourth playoff spot. The men’s side is even tighter. Scranton and Susquehanna are tied and play on the 15, but Moravian is just a game back and even fourth place Catholic could win the whole thing if the cards fell just right.

Liberty League

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 0 for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 7 for women

As crazy as it might seem, the men’s race is still up in the air. We don’t expect either St. Lawrence or Skidmore to go on a losing streak, but one of them will have to lose February 17th, when they play each other – and if the loser of that game doesn’t win any others, fifth place Clarkson can still catch them. For the women, William Smith is up a game on Skidmore; they play tonight. That will either help settle or muddle things at the top. From there we have three teams at 7-5 and RIT at 8-6; that’s almost literally half the conference fighting for two spots.
 
Little East

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 8 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 0 for men and women

Everybody gets into the Little East tournament and there are no byes, making it the most wide open in Division III. Higher seeds host each round, so positioning matters. The standings are almost mirrors for the men and women. Eastern Connecticut leads, with Mass-Dartmouth and Keene close behind, then the rest trailing. ECSU goes to UMD on Feb. 11, then hosts Keene State on the 15.

MASCAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 6 for men, 4 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 0 for men, 3 for women

The Fitchburg men have already beaten Salem State once; they play again on Feb. 15. A Fitchburg win would likely seal top seed. On the women’s side, Westfield and Framingham split their season series and each have just that one loss. At the bottom, Fitchburg play both Mass College and Salem State, the teams they’re competing with for the final tourney spot.

MIAA

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 2 for women

Undefeated-in-conference Hope has clinched the men’s top seed. Calvin and Alma are in the driver’s seat for bids as well, but they’ll have to earn them against teams close behind them who desperately want in. For the women, Albion just has to beat Alma tomorrow to secure a spot in the final four. At the top, Hope and Trine are tied at 12-1; they play February 18, probably for the right to host.

MWC

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 for men, 3 for women

First place, Cornell women, look to avenge their only loss of the year at second place, Lake Forest tomorrow; a win clinches top seed and tourney hosting for Cornell. Grinnell can secure the fourth spot; they play both teams trailing them, Knox and Illinois College, this week. For the men, St. Norbert already has the top spot locked up, while Lawrence hopes to make a mad scramble from fifth place into the post-season; they’ll need to beat Ripon on the Valentine's Days for any chance.

MIAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 5 for women

For the women, undefeated St. Thomas has a game lead on Gustavus Adolphus, who only lost to St. Thomas and has a game lead on Bethel, who only lost to St. Thomas and Gustavus. Those seeds are set, assuming each of those teams wins out; none play each other again. On the men’s side, St. Thomas is up two in the loss column on Bethel and looks good for yet another title. With so many conference games, the heavy hitters just aren’t playing down the stretch, but teams fighting for the last few spots are clashing all week.

NEWMAC

Tourney Berths: 5 for men, 7 for women
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 4 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 5 for women

In both men’s and women’s, Babson has a two win lead over MIT. The Babson women host Springfield on the 18th, a Springfield win there could create a three way tie at the top. The Babson men host MIT that same day, but the outcome won’t matter if Babson takes care of business before then. The rest of the men’s teams are tied either at 5-6 or 2-9; everybody is still alive.

NECC

Tourney Berths: 6 for men, 8 for women
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 8 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 7 for men, 0 for women

The Regis women, still undefeated in conference (they’ve never lost an NECC game) have secured top seed. On the men’s side, Southern Vermont beat Becker twice this week to tie at the top and grab the tiebreaker. Becker does have a slightly easier schedule coming home, but this race is likely coming down to the wire. At the bottom, 1-11 Newbury is still alive, with the right results this week.

NESCAC

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 4 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 7 for women

The NESCAC season ends this Sunday. Everyone but Colby is still alive on the men’s side. Amherst, Middlebury or Tufts could all win it, although Tufts is the only one that controls their own destiny. The Middlebury men are playing a makeup game with Plattsburgh between the end of the regular season and the NESCAC tourney – who knows what effect that will have on the team? For the women, everyone is alive going into the weekend, although Amherst would have to lose twice to not be the top seed.

NJAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 4 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 for men, 5 for women

Ramapo is in the lead for the men, but they finish with NJCU, who beat them once already, and Rowan, who is coming on strong down the stretch. Kean and Rutgers-Camden are out of playoff contention, but they could both play spoilers, as they’re matchup with teams fighting for the final two spots. On the women’s side, Montclair has locked up the top seed, but Kean and Stockton play tomorrow, with the winner getting inside position on the coveted second bye.

NAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 4 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 8 for men, 5 for women

Most NAC teams still have four conference games to play, so even Husson’s two game lead on the women’s side isn’t safe, especially not when they host second place Castleton tomorrow. Husson is also leading the men’s side and can clinch first place with a win over Castleton tomorrow, but the drama is farther down the standings: just two games separate third through ninth place right now.

NCAC

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 4 for men, 7 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 1 for women

DePauw has the women’s top seed locked up. What might be more interesting is how they break the tie for eighth place if Allegheny and Wooster end up each 1-15, with a win against each other. On the men’s side, Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster are tied atop the standings and play tomorrow; Wooster won the first meeting, so another win tomorrow would give them a game advantage and the tiebreaker. Each school also plays Wittenberg before the season is over.

NEAC

Tourney Berths: 7
Berths clinched: 5 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 9 for men, 7 for women

Thank goodness this is the last year of unbalanced divisions in the NEAC. I know the first three from each get into the tournament, but then one of the fourth place teams does as well, but it’s based on which division had the better winning percentage against the other and I’m not even sure how to begin to calculate it. I know SUNYIT is the clear top seed for the women from the North, and Lancaster Bible is in good position in the South, but still needs to beat Bryn Athyn on February 14 to clinch first place. On the men’s side, Gallaudet has clinched first in the South, while Morrisville and SUNYIT are only a game apart in the North. Hosting also depends on that crossover record, so I guess we’ll find out for sure who’s in when they announce it.

NACC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 3 for men, 5 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 1 for women

If the MSOE women win their last three games and Alverno loses their last three, MSOE can get the final playoff spot, otherwise the women’s participants are set. Concordia (WI) has a one game lead over Benedictine and Wisconsin Lutheran and none of them play each other again; Concordia has the easiest remaining schedule, but Benedictine has the tiebreaker. On the men’s side, the defending National Runners-Up, Benedictine, have secured top seed. Aurora just has to beat Concordia (WI) tomorrow to secure the second bye. 

NWC

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 2 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 5 for women

Whitman and Puget Sound have clear advantages for the men and women respectively. If the Lewis & Clark women win this weekend, they’ve all but locked up the fourth spot. On the men’s side, there’s strong competition between George Fox, Linfield, Pacific Lutheran, Lewis & Clark, and even Puget Sound, all battling for two playoff spots.

OAC

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 4 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 7 for women

The OAC women use a double bye for their tournament, while the men do not. Ohio Northern has gotten the first seed on the women’s side already, but Baldwin Wallace and Wilmington are tied for the second one; they play February 18th. On the men’s side, Marietta and Ohio Northern are tied for the top spot – they also matchup on Feb. 18, it will be for all the marbles if one of them has not slipped up before then. John Carroll is just a game back and plays ONU tomorrow.
 
ODAC

Tourney Berths: 12
Berths clinched: 12 each for men and women
Berths still open: 0 for men and women

Everybody makes the tournament in the ODAC; it is thrilling. If you get a chance to go to the Salem Civic Center for their long weekend, you should take it. The big advantage here is getting a top four seed and first round bye. For the men, Emory & Henry and Eastern Mennonite need wins to secure those spots, while on the women’s side E&H just needs one win to get the fourth bye.
 
PAC

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 5 for men, 6 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 4 for women

Like the OAC, the PAC have a double bye for women, but not for men. Thomas More technically needs one more win to clinch top spot, but they’ll get it. Washington & Jefferson has a one game edge plus the tiebreaker over St. Vincent for the other. Most teams have three conference games left to play. On the men’s side, second place Thomas More has to play both the team ahead of them, St. Vincent, and the two teams directly behind them, Westminster (PA) and Thiel – even if they complete that sweep, Thomas More just has to beat the two teams at the bottom of the standings to take the regular season title.
 
Skyline

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 5 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 8 for men, 3 for women

The Skyline also has a bunch of postponed games to make up (even a couple from last night), so some teams have just one game remaining, while others have five. It should be an exciting week with SUNY-Old Westbury trying to win out on the women’s side to take top seed and Merchant Marine having to sit and wait while the two St. Joseph’s schools try to catch up for the final spot. On the men’s side, Farmingdale State can lock up the regular season crown with a win over second place Old-Westbury tomorrow.
 
SAA

Tourney Berths: 8
Berths clinched: 8 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 0 for men and women

The SAA is another conference where every team makes the tournament – another great eight team, long weekend for fans to check out. Five teams still mathematically in the hunt to host on the women’s side, including Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern tied at the top. For the men, four teams can still host, although Centre and Rhodes, just a game back, play tonight.
 
SCIAC

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 0 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 6 for men, 6 for women

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has clinched top seed for the men, but that’s really all we know. With most teams having four games remaining, and largely playing the other contenders, it would take a Caltech student to figure out all the permutations. On the women’s side, Cal Lutheran, CMS, and Chapman are locked near the top; CMS hosts Lutheran on the 15th and Chapman on the 18th, so they can earn a conference title on the floor. There’s a similar round-robin happening for second place on the men’s side between Lutheran, LaVerne, and Pomona-Pitzer, but Caltech, currently out of the running, plays all three and can certainly sneak in if things fall the right way. 

SCAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 4 each for men and women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 each for men and women

Everyone is alive across both men and women, because that sixth spot is really anybody’s for the taking. Five teams on the men’s side are fighting for the two byes, but Schreiner, Texas Lutheran, and Colorado College each have eight wins and the inside edge. For the women, Trinity and Texas Lutheran each have nine wins, but Trinity still has to play Schreiner twice more to end the season.

SLIAC

Tourney Berths: 4
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 1 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 6 for women

The Eureka women clinch first place with a win over Greenville tomorrow, but five teams are just two games apart for the final two playoff spots. On the men’s side, Greenville and Westminster (Mo) are tied at the top, but Greenville has the tiebreaker. Webster is trying to hold off Blackburn for fourth; they play tomorrow as well.
 
SUNYAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 4 for men, 5 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 4 for men, 4 for women

The Geneseo women can clinch top seed with a win over Oneonta tonight; Brockport will be trying to hold off Plattsburgh, Oswego, and Buffalo State for the final spot. On the men’s side, Oswego has a two game lead, but if they stumble just once, their final game at Brockport on the 18th will settle top seed; meanwhile there are four teams fighting for the final two playoff spots.

UAA

Tourney Berths: 0
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 8 for women

The UAA has no tournament. On the men’s side, WashU has a one game lead over Rochester. Emory and Carnegie Mellon are still mathematically alive, but if WashU sweeps this weekend, there is only one team that can catch them. For the women, Chicago and WashU are tied at the top with Rochester a game behind. With five conference games remaining, no team has yet been eliminated, but the winner will almost certainly come from the top three.

UMAC

Tourney Berths: 5
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 3 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 7 for men, 5 for women

The Minnesota-Morris men have a two game cushion for the fifth and final playoff spot, but Crown and Superior and lurking and Crown holds the tiebreaker over Morris. For the women, only three games separate fourth through seventh, but if St. Scholastica is to have a chance, they’ll have to take down undefeated Superior tonight.

USAC

Tourney Berths: 8 for men, 12 for women
Berths clinched: 1 for men, 12 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 9 for men, 0 for women

These races couldn’t be more different. The women have divisions and the six playoff teams from each are set. Maryville has secured the bye from the South and Ferrum needs just one win tomorrow, to secure the North’s bye. Literally anything can happen on the men’s side, but look out for February 18th, when the current top four play each other: Ferrum at Greensboro, Maryville at Averett

WIAC

Tourney Berths: 6
Berths clinched: 2 for men, 5 for women
Teams still in the hunt: 5 for men, 3 for women

Nothing is every easy in the WIAC, but the River Falls men could clinch top see a week early by beating Whitewater tomorrow. La Crosse and Stout are battling for the final playoff spot; they go head to head on the 15th. Also on the 15th, for the women, Oshkosh will face second place Whitewater, where a win can clinch first for UWO. Stout is a game ahead for the final spot, but they face a tough three game final stretch and one of the two behind them, Platteville and River Falls, has to get a win when they play each other on the 18th; it could be a tiebreaker at the bottom.



Ryan Scot

Ryan Scott serves as the lead columnist for D3hoops.com and previously wrote the Mid-Atlantic Around the Region column in 2015 and 2016. He's a long-time D-III basketball supporter and former player currently residing in Middletown, Del., where he serves as a work-at-home dad, doing freelance writing and editing projects. He has written for multiple publications across a wide spectrum of topics. Ryan is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College.
Previous columnists:
2014-16: Rob Knox
2010-13: Brian Falzarano
2010: Marcus Fitzsimmons
2008-2010: Evans Clinchy
Before 2008: Mark Simon