November 4, 2012

At-large berth analysis and predictions

By Christan Shirk

PART I

The last of the conference tournaments wrapped up today and 41 of the 62 berths in the NCAA men's tournament have been claimed via automatic qualification (AQ).  That leaves 21 at-large berths for the men's committee to award by selecting one team from Pool B and 20 from Pool C.  (For a full explanation of the Pool B and Pool C classifications and the allocation of berths see the column AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?.)  So who's in the running for the 20 Pool C and 1 Pool B at-large berths? Who will be dancing and who's season has come to a close?

Selection Criteria

Well, first let's quickly review the criteria the committee uses to evaluate teams and make the at-large selections.  The selection criteria are found in Section 2.4 of the Pre-Championships Manual (pgs. 23-24) and is divided between primary criteria which only consider regional competition and secondary criteria that introduce out-of-region and non-Division III competition, the later only being considered if the former does not enable a distinction to be made between schools.

Primary Criteria (not listed in priority order)

  • Win-loss percentage against regional opponents
  • Strength-of-schedule (only contests versus regional competition)
  • In-region head-to-head competition
  • In-region results versus common regional opponents
  • In-region results versus regionally ranked teams

Beyond the selection criteria, note the following principles concerning at-large selections.  

  • Teams are selected on a national basis, using in-region selection criteria.
  • There will be be no predetermined regional allocations for Pools B and C.
  • There will be no maximum or minimum number of berths from one region.

Background: Observations from the Past

I will use the third and final NCAA weekly regional rankings as the starting point to evaluate the Pool B and Pool C landscape.  The reason for this is that these rankings are done by the same national and regional committees which will make the at-large selections and are done by applying the same criteria which is used for making the at-large selections.  Therefore, by design, the NCAA regional rankings are a direct foreshadowing of the at-large selections providing a certain level of transparency to the at-large selection process.  It is for this reason that these rankings are so important and insightful.

Furthermore, a comparison of the at-large selections and regional rankings over the past several years yields the following observations.  

  • In the past five years (2007-08-09-10-11) no team that was unranked in the third weekly regional rankings (those released the Wednesday before the selections) got selected.
  • There have usually been more than twice as many Pool C candidates in the rankings as available Pool C berths.  Last year for example, there were 40 Pool C teams in the final rankings and 19 Pool C at-large berths
  • Regions generally have 2 to 4 ranked teams not selected, maybe more or less for the weakest and strongest regions.
  • Within a region, rarely does a lower ranked team in the third rankings get selected ahead of a higher ranked team.  For example, in 2009, no Pool C candidate that was not selected had been above one who was selected in the third rankings.  Last year there were three cases: a #6-ranked team taken over a #5-ranked team due to a head-to-head victory by the #6-ranked team, a #6 with a semifinal win and final loss over a #5 with a semifinal loss, and a #5 taken over a #4 with both losing in the final week. 
  • Most of the at-large selections come from the top half of each region's rankings.
  • There has been no indication that that conference tournament results are weighted extra for being most recent and/or for being conference tournament results, and they shouldn't as the primary and secondary selection criteria makes no such allowance.  

This leads to the following conclusions:  

  • A team that is not ranked in the third and final regional rankings has virtually no shot at a Pool C berth.
  • Many ranked teams will not be participating in the tournament.  It isn't good enough to simply be ranked to gain an at-large berth.
  • In fact, a team usually needs to be in the top half of their regional rankings to be selected for an at-large berth.  Although with the expanding tournament field and increase in at-large berths, this may be moving towards the top two-thirds.
  • Do not expect big jumps or falls due to the final week's results (mostly conference tournaments), which makes sense as one week only represents about 10% of the total schedule and conference tournament results are not weighted extra.

This Year's At-Large Berths Harder to Predict?

However, all that said, I do think this year might be less predictable than in recent years.  There has been more week-to-week movement in the rankings than in past years, and some of it hard to understand.  So I won't be as surprised if there's a few selections that were hardar to see coming.  I think the "bubble" is fairly large, but I thought the same last year and still managed to correctly predict all but one selection.  Typically you can safely predict at least two-thirds of the committee's Pool C selections based on their rankings and the final week's results.  I think that will remain true again, but the final one-third of selection might be more difficult than usual to predict.  And I still don't expect to see an unranked team selected for the first time since 2006. 

PART II

Using the Regional Rankings as a Guide

Well, that was quite the introduction.  Let's finally take a look at the third week of the NCAA regional rankings to see where things stand.  I have taken the rankings and color-coded the teams according to their Pool:  Pool A (AQ), Pool B, and Pool C.  A couple of notes to properly understand the data in the table.  The Strength-of-Schedule (SOS) value is from last week's rankings and I will not be trying to update it for this past week's results.  However, I have updated the other information (overall record, in-region record, record versus ranked teams).  I list a team's ranking in each of the three weekly releases with the order based on the third ranking.  I have included any teams ranked in any of the three weekly rankings as these are the teams to be included in the "record versus ranked teams."

Classification of teams: AQ (Pool A)   Pool B   Pool C
NEW ENGLAND REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
2 1 1 Williams (13-1-3) 13-1-3 0.589 4-1-3 T0-0(2ot) Tufts, L0-2 Amherst
1 2 2 Amherst (15-0-2) 15-0-2 0.598 4-0-2 W1-0 Wesleyan, W2-0 Williams
3 3 3 Brandeis (16-2-1) 15-2-1 0.596 3-2-1 W1-0 New York U.
6 4 4 Babson (13-3-3) 13-3-3 0.628 4-3-1 T2-2(2ot) MIT
4 5 5 Eastern Connecticut (17-1-1) 17-1-1 0.549 3-1-0 W3-1 Mass-Dartmouth
8 6 6 MIT (13-4-2) 13-4-2 0.616 2-3-1 W1-0 Wheaton (MA), T2-2(2ot) Babson, W2-0 Springfield
7 10 7 Tufts (9-3-4) 9-3-4 0.596 3-3-1 T0-0(2ot) Williams
5 7 8 Wesleyan (9-4-3) 9-4-3 0.618 1-3-2 L0-1 Amherst
9 8 9 Roger Williams (15-5-0) 15-5-0 0.561 1-3-0 L1-2 Nichols
9 10 Coast Guard (11-6-1) 11-6-1 0.583 1-3-0 L0-2 Springfield
10 11 11 Bowdoin (8-5-2) 8-5-2 0.587 1-5-0 D.N.P.
11 Mass-Dartmouth (12-7-0) 12-7-0 0.527 1-3-0 W3-1 Keene St., L1-3 Eastern Connecticut
EAST REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 2 1 Stevens (16-2-1) 14-1-1 0.579 4-1-0 W5-0 Elmira, T0-0(2ot) Ithaca
2 1 2 St. Lawrence (13-2-3) 10-2-3 0.602 4-0-2 T2-2(2ot) RPI
4 3 3 Rochester (10-3-3) 9-3-3 0.586 3-2-2 W3-0 Case Western Reserve
5 5 4 Oneonta State (13-5-1) 12-5-1 0.593 2-1-1 W2-1 New Palts St., W2-1 Plattsburgh St.
3 4 5 New York Univ. (10-7-1) 10-7-1 0.557 2-2-1 L0-1 Brandeis
6 7 6 RPI (9-5-6) 9-5-6 0.603 1-4-4 T2-2(2ot) St. Lawrence, T1-1(2ot) Vassar
7 Union (12-5-0) 11-4-0 0.521 2-3-0 L1-3 Vassar
7 6 8 Vassar (12-4-3) 12-3-3 0.498 3-2-1 W3-1 Union, T1-1 RPI
8 8 9 Hobart (10-6-0) 10-6-0 0.576 3-4-0 D.N.P.
9 Ithaca (7-5-6) 5-4-6 0.588 0-2-4 T0-0(2ot) St. John Fisher, T0-0(2ot) Stevens
9 St. John Fisher (10-5-3) 10-5-2 0.530 0-4-1 T0-0(2ot) Ithaca
MID-ATLANTIC REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 1 1 Messiah (19-0-1) 18-0-1 0.578 4-0-1 W3-0 Alvernia, W1-0 Lebanon Valley
2 2 2 Scranton (14-2-2) 13-2-2 0.594 3-1-2 W2-1 Catholic, L0-1 Susquehanna
3 3 3 Swarthmore (14-2-2) 14-2-2 0.594 4-2-2 W3-0 Johns Hopkins, L0-1 Haverford
4 4 4 Susquehanna (17-2-0) 17-2-0 0.590 4-1-0 W1-0 Drew, W1-0(ot) Scranton
6 7 5 Dickinson (12-4-2) 11-4-2 0.580 1-4-2 L0-1 Haverford
7 6 6 Haverford (12-7-0) 12-6-0 0.614 4-3-0 W1-0 Dickinson, W1-0 Swarthmore
7 Catholic (13-6-0) 12-6-0 0.538 2-5-0 L1-2 Scranton
7 8 8 Franklin & Marshall (12-6-0) 9-6-0 0.574 1-4-0 L1-2(ot) Johns Hopkins
5 5 Misericordia (13-6-2) 13-6-2 0.568 1-2-0 W2-0 King's, W3-1 FDU-Florham
SOUTH ATLANTIC REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 1 1 Montclair State (17-2-0) 17-2-0 0.543 4-0-0 L1-2 Rowan
3 4 2 York (Pa.) (17-2-2) 17-2-2 0.548 4-2-0 W4-3(2ot) Frostburg St., W5-0 Mary Wash.
3 3 3 Rutgers-Camden (16-2-2) 16-2-2 0.577 3-2-0 W3-1 Rutgers-Newark, W3-0 Rowan
6 4 Chris. Newport (16-3-2) 16-3-2 0.497 3-1-1 L0-2 Greensboro
6 5 Rutgers-Newark (14-8-0) 14-8-0 0.548 1-4-0 L1-3 Rutgers-Camden
6 Emory (10-6-2) 10-6-1 0.597 3-3-1 W1-0 Carnegie Mellon
5 7 7 N.C. Wesleyan (9-3-3) 8-3-3 0.534 0-2-0 D.N.P.
7 5 Mary Washington (12-8-1) 12-8-1 0.559 2-6-1 W1-0(2ot) Salisbury, L0-5 York (Pa.)
3 Salisbury (9-7-2) 8-7-2 0.568 1-4-0 L0-1(2ot) Mary Washington
4 Oglethorpe (9-7-0) 8-7-0 0.590 0-1-0 W3-1 Birmingham-Southern, L0-3 Berry
GREAT LAKES REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 1 1 Carnegie Mellon (12-3-1) 11-3-1 0.626 5-2-1 L0-1 Emory
5 2 Ohio Wesleyan (13-2-5) 12-2-5 0.581 2-1-4 T0-0(2ot) Kenyon, T0-0(2ot) DePauw
3 2 3 Ohio Northern (20-2-0) 19-2-0 0.542 2-2-0 W3-1 Heidelberg, W2-0 John Carroll
4 4 4 Centre (14-3-3) 13-3-2 0.593 1-1-0 W2-1 Rhodes, W6-1 Millsaps, T2-2(2ot)
7 7 5 DePauw (13-1-5) 11-1-4 0.555 3-1-1 W3-2 Hiram, T0-0(2ot) Ohio Wesleyan
2 3 6 Allegheny (13-4-1) 11-4-1 0.575 1-3-0 D.N.P.
7 Kenyon (9-6-3) 9-5-3 0.580 2-2-2 T0-0(2ot) Ohio Wesleyan
5 6 Hiram (15-3-1) 14-3-1 0.485 1-2-1 L2-3 DePauw
6 Transylvania (16-1-2) 15-1-2 0.469 0-1-0 W3-0 Franklin, W4-1 Anderson
CENTRAL REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 1 1 Dominican (16-2-1) 16-2-1 0.577 3-1-1 W2-1 Milwaukee Engr., W2-1 Concordia (Wis.)
2 2 2 Wheaton (Ill.) (15-3-3) 15-3-3 0.676 3-3-2 W5-0 Illinois Wesleyan, T1-1(2ot) North Park
5 4 3 North Park (12-2-5) 12-2-5 0.616 2-2-4 W3-2 Carthage, T1-1(2ot) Wheaton (Ill.)
4 Washington U. (10-4-2) 8-4-2 0.626 2-3-1 T0-0(2ot) Chicago
4 5 5 Calvin (16-3-1) 16-3-1 0.554 2-3-0 W1-0(2ot) Kalamazoo, W3-0 Olivet
6 6 6 Olivet (16-5-1) 14-5-1 0.511 1-2-0 L1-2 Trine, W2-1 Hope, L0-3 Calvin
2 3 Ill. Wesleyan (11-6-0) 11-6-0 0.597 1-5-0 L0-5 Wheaton (Ill.)
6 Chicago (8-4-5) 8-4-5 0.580 2-3-5 T0-0(2ot) Washington U.
NORTH REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 1 1 Loras (19-1-1) 19-1-1 0.575 5-1-0 W6-0 Simpson, W2-1 Central
2 2 2 Carleton (17-1-2) 17-1-2 0.529 3-0-1 W2-0 St. John's, T0-0(2ot) Gustavus Adolphus
3 3 3 Gustavus Adolphus (15-2-2) 15-2-2 0.525 3-1-1 W1-0 St. Thomas, T0-0(2ot) Carleton
4 4 4 UW-Platteville (14-3-1) 12-3-1 0.539 3-1-0 D.N.P.
5 Lake Forest (15-4-1) 15-4-1 0.504 1-0-0 W1-0 Grinnell, L0-2 Carroll
6 7 6 Dubuque (11-6-1) 11-6-1 0.549 2-4-0 L1-2 Central
5 5 7 St. Thomas (11-5-3) 11-5-2 0.556 0-4-1 L0-1 Gustavus Adolphus
6 UW-Whitewater (8-5-3) 8-5-3 0.617 2-2-2 W3-1 UW-Oshkosh
7 Luther (10-5-3) 10-5-3 0.546 1-4-0 D.N.P.
WEST REGION 10/31 in-region data sheet (for results thru 10/28)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
1 1 1 Trinity (Texas) (18-0-3) 18-0-3 0.585 4-0-1 W1-0(2ot) Austin, W2-0 Southwestern
2 3 2 Colorado College (13-4-3) 11-3-3 0.561 1-2-1 T0-0(2ot) Southwestern
3 4 3 Mississippi Col. (12-5-2) 12-3-2 0.545 1-2-0 T2-2(2ot) Hardin-Simmons, T1-1(2ot) Texas-Dallas
5 2 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-6-1) 10-5-1 0.557 2-1-0 L1-2 Hardin-Simmons
6 4 5 Puget Sound (12-3-5) 11-3-5 0.535 1-1-3 W2-0 Pacifica Lutheran
4 6 Whitworth (13-2-3) 12-2-3 0.562 1-0-2 L1-2 Whitman
6 Texas-Dallas (12-5-1) 12-5-1 0.548 0-4-1 W3-1 Schreiner, T1-1(2ot) Mississippi Col.

 

PART III

Pool B Analysis and Predictions

There are just two Pool B teams in the regional rankings: UW-Platteville, ranked 4th in the North Region, and Centre, ranked 4th in the Great Lakes region.  A 3-1-0 record vs. ranked teams will likely give the nod to UW-Platteville over Centre, but regardless of who the selection committee takes here, they other will likely be in good shape for a berth via Pool C. 

The Pool C Candidates

So, counting we find that there are 37 Pool C teams that were ranked in the third regional rankings, a little less than twice the 20 available berths.  Also, one of the two Pool B candidates will fall into Pool C.  So, which 20 of the 37 teams in blue and the unselected Pool B team will get selected by the committee?  Who will be left out? 

Let's start by throwing all the ranked Pool C teams together in one table along with Pool B Centre.

POOL C CANDIDATES (listed alphabetically)
Rank School
(with overall record)
In-Region Past Week's Results
(only in-region games listed)
1st 2nd 3rd  Record    SOS   vs.Rnk'd
2 3 6 Allegheny (13-4-1) 11-4-1 0.575 1-3-0 D.N.P.
6 4 4 Babson (13-3-3) 13-3-3 0.628 4-3-1 T2-2(2ot) MIT
10 11 11 Bowdoin (8-5-2) 8-5-2 0.587 1-5-0 D.N.P.
3 3 3 Brandeis (16-2-1) 15-2-1 0.596 3-2-1 W1-0 New York U.
2 2 2 Carleton (17-1-2) 17-1-2 0.529 3-0-1 W2-0 St. John's, T0-0(2ot) Gustavus Adolphus
7 Catholic (13-6-0) 12-6-0 0.538 2-5-0 L1-2 Scranton
4 4 4 Centre (14-3-3) 13-3-2 0.593 1-1-0 W2-1 Rhodes, W6-1 Millsaps, T2-2(2ot)
6 Chicago (8-4-5) 8-4-5 0.580 2-3-5 T0-0(2ot) Washington U.
6 4 Chris. Newport (16-3-2) 16-3-2 0.497 3-1-1 L0-2 Greensboro
9 10 Coast Guard (11-6-1) 11-6-1 0.583 1-3-0 L0-2 Springfield
2 3 2 Colorado College (13-4-3) 11-3-3 0.561 1-2-1 T0-0(2ot) Southwestern
6 7 5 Dickinson (12-4-2) 11-4-2 0.580 1-4-2 L0-1 Haverford
6 7 6 Dubuque (11-6-1) 11-6-1 0.549 2-4-0 L1-2 Central
6 Emory (10-6-2) 10-6-1 0.597 3-3-1 W1-0 Carnegie Mellon
7 8 8 Franklin & Marshall (12-6-0) 9-6-0 0.574 1-4-0 L1-2(ot) Johns Hopkins
5 6 Hiram (15-3-1) 14-3-1 0.485 1-2-1 L2-3 DePauw
8 8 9 Hobart (10-6-0) 10-6-0 0.576 3-4-0 D.N.P.
2 3 Ill. Wesleyan (11-6-0) 11-6-0 0.597 1-5-0 L0-5 Wheaton (Ill.)
9 Ithaca (7-5-6) 5-4-6 0.588 0-2-4 T0-0(2ot) St. John Fisher, T0-0(2ot) Stevens
7 Kenyon (9-6-3) 9-5-3 0.580 2-2-2 T0-0(2ot) Ohio Wesleyan
5 Lake Forest (15-4-1) 15-4-1 0.504 1-0-0 W1-0 Grinnell, L0-2 Carroll
7 Luther (10-5-3) 10-5-3 0.546 1-4-0 D.N.P.
5 2 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-6-1) 10-5-1 0.557 2-1-0 L1-2 Hardin-Simmons
7 5 Mary Washington (12-8-1) 12-8-1 0.559 2-6-1 W1-0(2ot) Salisbury, L0-5 York (Pa.)
11 Mass-Dartmouth (12-7-0) 12-7-0 0.527 1-3-0 W3-1 Keene St., L1-3 Eastern Connecticut
1 1 1 Montclair State (17-2-0) 17-2-0 0.543 4-0-0 L1-2 Rowan
3 4 5 New York Univ. (10-7-1) 10-7-1 0.557 2-2-1 L0-1 Brandeis
5 7 7 N. C. Wesleyan (9-3-3) 8-3-3 0.534 0-2-0 D.N.P.
5 4 3 North Park (12-2-5) 12-2-5 0.616 2-2-4 W3-2 Carthage, T1-1(2ot) Wheaton (Ill.)
4 Oglethorpe (9-7-0) 8-7-0 0.590 0-1-0 W3-1 Birmingham-Southern, L0-3 Berry
5 2 Ohio Wesleyan (13-2-5) 12-2-5 0.581 2-1-4 T0-0(2ot) Kenyon, T0-0(2ot) DePauw
6 6 6 Olivet (16-5-1) 14-5-1 0.511 1-2-0 L1-2 Trine, W2-1 Hope, L0-3 Calvin
6 4 5 Puget Sound (12-3-5) 11-3-5 0.535 1-1-3 W2-0 Pacifica Lutheran
4 3 3 Rochester (10-3-3) 9-3-3 0.586 3-2-2 W3-0 Case Western Reserve
9 8 9 Roger Williams (15-5-0) 15-5-0 0.561 1-3-0 L1-2 Nichols
6 5 Rutgers-Newark (14-8-0) 14-8-0 0.548 1-4-0 L1-3 Rutgers-Camden
3 Salisbury (9-7-2) 8-7-2 0.568 1-4-0 L0-1(2ot) Mary Washington
2 2 2 Scranton (14-2-2) 13-2-2 0.594 3-1-2 W2-1 Catholic, L0-1 Susquehanna
9 St. John Fisher (10-5-3) 10-5-2 0.530 0-4-1 T0-0(2ot) Ithaca
2 1 2 St. Lawrence (13-2-3) 10-2-3 0.602 4-0-2 T2-2(2ot) RPI
5 5 7 St. Thomas (11-5-3) 11-5-2 0.556 0-4-1 L0-1 Gustavus Adolphus
3 3 3 Swarthmore (14-2-2) 14-2-2 0.594 4-2-2 W3-0 Johns Hopkins, L0-1 Haverford
6 Texas-Dallas (12-5-1) 12-5-1 0.548 0-4-1 W3-1 Schreiner, T1-1(2ot) Mississippi Col.
7 10 7 Tufts (9-3-4) 9-3-4 0.596 3-3-1 T0-0(2ot) Williams
7 Union (12-5-0) 11-4-0 0.521 2-3-0 L1-3 Vassar
6 UW-Whitewater (8-5-3) 8-5-3 0.617 2-2-2 W3-1 UW-Oshkosh
7 6 8 Vassar (12-4-3) 12-3-3 0.498 3-2-1 W3-1 Union, T1-1 RPI
4 Washington U. (10-4-2) 8-4-2 0.626 2-3-1 T0-0(2ot) Chicago
5 7 8 Wesleyan (9-4-3) 9-4-3 0.618 1-3-2 L0-1 Amherst
2 1 1 Williams (13-1-3) 13-1-3 0.589 4-1-3 T0-0(2ot) Tufts, L0-2 Amherst

Pool C Analysis and Predictions

POOL C LOCKS I - WITHOUT DISCUSSION (3)

1. Montclair State

2. Williams

3. Brandeis

POOL C LOCKS II - RUBBER-STAMPING DISCUSSION (5)

4. Babson - Highest SOS in Pool C, 4-3-1 vs. ranked teams

5. St. Lawrence - 4-0-2 against ranked team, SOS over .600

6. Scranton - 3-1-2 vs. ranked teams with high SOS

7. Swarthmore - 4-2-2 vs. ranked teams with high SOS

8. Carleton - Great record and 3-0-1 vs. ranked teams makes up for so-so SOS

SAFE (4)

9. Ohio Wesleyan - Questionable 2-1-4 record vs. ranked teams, but have a high SOS and were ranked 2nd in Great Lakes last week.

10. North Park - A lot of ties, but that's better than losses. Great SOS and only lost twice in eight tries vs. ranked teams

11. Rochester - 3-2-2 vs. ranked teams with high SOS. How many other candidates will have 3 wins vs. ranked teams?

12. Washington U. - With second highest SOS in Pool C, 2-3-1 record vs. ranked teams is enough

IN GOOD SHAPE (3)

13. Tufts - High SOS. Will probably edge Wesleayn for a third NESCAC berth with a 3-3-1 record vs. ranked teams.

14. Centre - Had a case for the lone Pool B berth with high SOS and 1-1-0 records vs. ranked; it will be enough to get out of Pool C with a berth.

15. Colorado - In a weak West Region they were ranked second with a decent SOS.

RIGHT SIDE OF THE "BUBBLE" (3)

16. Christopher Newport - Very low SOS, but they were still ranked fourth in the South Atlantic region last week with 3-1-1 record vs. ranked teams.

17. Emory - Six is a lot of losses, but a high SOS and 3 wins vs. ranked teams as they finished the season strong.

18. Vassar - Very low SOS, but 3-2-1 record vs. ranked teams compensates.

ON THE "BUBBLE" - PICK 'EM (2 of 6)

Dickinson - High SOS, but with a poor 1-4-2 record vs. ranked teams they left themselves in a very precarious position.

Mary Hardin-Baylor - Six losses is a lot without a very high SOS, but have a chance due to weakness of West Region and 2 wins vs. ranked teams.

Kenyon - Pretty high SOS and 2-2-2 record vs. ranked teams is countered by eight in-region blemishes, five of them losses

Olivet - Poor finish to season costs them a more comfortable wait for the at-large announcements. SOS is on low side and 1-2-0 record vs. Ranked teams does not help.

Lake Forest - Low SOS and just one game vs. a ranked team, but it was a win and they were ranked 5th in North Region last week.

Wesleyan - One of the highest SOS, but they were a very poor 1-3-2 vs. ranked teams which doesn't make much of a case for a fourth NESCAC team.

What about so-and-so?

I said above that I would not be surprised if there was a selection or two that wasn't predictable.  And my take on how the final week would have effected the regional rankings is certainly just an educated guess.  Could a Roger Williams with their high SOS be in the mix?  Or likewise, Allegheny?  Perhaps.  What about Rutgers-Newark; they were ranked fifth in the South Atlantic?  Well, they lost again this past week and I suspect that, in the eyes of the selection committee, Emory's win over Carnegie Mellon moves them ahead of Newark who is now carrying 8 losses and is only 1-4-0 against ranked teams. 

I anticipate questions about two big names.  First, New York University.  They were ranked fifth in the East Region after the previous week, but moving in the wrong direction.  They picked up another loss this week to make it five in a row and seven overall.  They finished seventh in their conference and the UAA is probably already going to have four other at-large recipients. I think that's going to be too much to get selected even if their SOS is fairly strong and they have a pair of wins vs. ranked teams.  I think they opened the door for Vassar and Union to move up the East Rankings, and while neither of them really seized on the opportunity, I do think Vassar did enough to be next in line out of that region.

And finally, Plattsburgh State.  They have been ranked in the Top 25 by D3soccer.com since week 3.  I have questioned their merit of a Top 25 ranking for the same reason they have not been regionally ranked by the NCAA selection committee: a weak schedule.  Their SOS is a paltry 0.471.  The East Region ranks its top nine teams and for three weeks Plattsburgh has been snubbed.  If they would be given an at-large berth at this point it would suggest that the regional rankings were not really done by applying the same criteria as is used for the at-large selections as specified, thus, bringing into question the purpose of the regional rankings.

So, in conclusion, my predictions are made trusting that the same criteria was used in the regional rankings as is being used to make the at-large selections.  From there I try to decide how the final weeks results will have changed the rankings in the minds of the regional committees and the national committee.  And then it's a matter of deciding how deep the selections will go in each region, leaning on the history of at-large selections and what they suggest the committee is looking for (high SOS, wins against ranked teams, etc.).  It's educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless, so take it for what it's worth.

 


Comments or feedback for the author?  Email Christan Shirk.



CHRISTAN SHIRK

Christan Shirk

 

Christan Shirk is a Messiah College graduate (1993, Civil Engineering) and has been a keen and passionate observer of D-III soccer for over a decade and a half. Never more than a rec-league player himself, Chris brings an analytical approach and nationwide perspective to D3soccer.com. He loves D-III soccer history, statistical number-crunching, and off-the-radar action, all of which he gladly shares with his readers when he's able to find time to write. [see full bio]

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