|Springfield is our last team
in the field.
Springfield athletics photo
We began by selecting the lone Pool B team -- again this year, it's Centre -- and then the process of selecting 19 Pool C teams, the true at-large entrants. Those are, in order:
UW-Whitewater; Williams; Illinois Wesleyan; Babson; Plattsburgh State; Hope; Randolph-Macon; Eastern Connecticut; Wesley; Augustana; Emory; DePauw; William Paterson; Geneseo State; Carthage; WPI; St. Thomas; Christopher Newport; Springfield.
Springfield was the subject of discussion on the air on Hoopsville. Although Springfield was 2-4 against regionally ranked opponents and Stevenson was 4-4, it's not just the raw numbers that count. The selection criteria say "results" vs. regionally ranked opponents, and Springfield beat the Northeast No. 3 team twice, with no losses vs. regionally ranked opponents ranked lower than fifth. Stevenson's best win vs. a regionally ranked opponent was against Alvernia (twice), the Mid-Atlantic No. 5 in our final (secret) poll, and two losses were to the No. 7 and No. 8 team in the South.
Left on the board: Staten Island in the Atlantic (.486 SOS, the only strength of schedule in consideration below .500), Wittenberg (.530 SOS, 1-6 vs. regionally ranked opponents in our secret ranking), NYU, Stevenson, Oglethorpe (or Birmingham-Southern, either way) and Dubuque (.517 SOS).
This year we wanted to better emulate what the NCAA committee usually does. We picked 16 teams that were deserving of hosting in the first two rounds, and then we matched up 14 teams (because of the two byes) that deserved, based on their record and strength of schedule, to be matched up with that caliber of team. Then we tried to mix and match teams from the middle to get a neutral site first-round game and potentially play the host on the second night.
Here are our first-weekend sites. They're generally referred to as pods in the NCAA parlance:
at Amherst: First-round bye. DeSales travels to
Albertus Magnus, with the winner to Amherst.
at Williams: Williams vs. Morrisville State, WPI vs. William Paterson.
at Wooster: Wooster vs. Hartwick, Mary Washington vs. Wheaton (Ill.).
at Washington U.: Wash U vs. Webster, Wilmington vs. Carthage.
at Richard Stockton: Richard Stockton vs. Mitchell, Wesley vs. Virginia Wesleyan.
at SUNY-Purchase: Purchase vs. Husson, Eastern Connecticut vs. Hobart.
at Hope: Hope vs. Penn State-Behrend, Geneseo State vs. St. Norbert.
at Illinois Wesleyan: IWU vs. Northwestern, St. Olaf vs. Rose-Hulman.
at Brockport State: Brockport vs. York (N.Y.), Alvernia vs. Calvin.
at Cabrini: Cabrini vs. Gordon, Babson vs. Rhode Island College.
at Randolph-Macon: Randolph-Macon vs. Johns Hopkins, Christopher Newport vs. Springfield.
at UW-Stevens Point: First-round bye. Central travels to DePauw, winner to UWSP. (A little more travel than I'd like here -- this could be tweaked.)
at Texas-Dallas: Chapman vs. UT-Dallas, Whitworth vs. Trinity (Texas). All the flights!
at Scranton: Scranton vs. Bridgewater State, Plattsburgh State vs. MIT.
at Centre: (Emory the top seed) Emory vs. LaGrange, St. Vincent vs. Centre.
at UW-Whitewater: UWW vs. Marian, St. Thomas vs. Augustana.
Second-weekend matchups this year are likely to be very geographically dependent, unfortunately, but hopefully enough teams in the middle of the country advance that we can still get some decent diversity before the Final Four.