November 5, 2017

Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions

PART I

By Christan Shirk

The conference tournaments will wrap up Saturday and Sunday and 42 of the 62 berths in the NCAA men's tournament will have been claimed via automatic qualification (AQ). That leaves 20 at-large berths for the men's committee to award by selecting one team from Pool B and 19 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 19 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 2017 Division III Soccer Pre-Championships Manual (pgs. 21-22). The criteria is divided between primary and secondary criteria, the latter only being considered if the former does not enable a distinction to be made between schools. The criteria underwent a significant change prior to the 2013 season when the in-region/out-of-region distinction was abandoned. Previously only games versus "in-region" opponents were consider as part of the primary criteria with secondary criteria considering out-of-region and non-Division III competition. Now, primary criteria considers all Division III opponents while results versus non-Division III opponents (NAIA, NCCAA, Division II, Division I) are considered secondary criteria. There are two changes for the 2017 season: non-conference strenth-of-schedule has been added as a secondary criterion and what constitutes a ranked opponent for the results versus ranked teams primary criterion has been modified.

Primary Criteria (not listed in priority order)

  • Win-loss percentage against Division III opponents
  • Division III head-to-head competition
  • Results versus common Division III opponents
  • Results versus ranked Division III teams as established by the final ranking and the ranking preceeding the final ranking
  • Division III strength of schedule

For further explanation of the criteria, including Strength of Schedule, results versus ranked teams, and a list of secondary criteria, go here or here.

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.

Selection Committee

The NCAA championship tournament is administrated by the eight-member NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Committee which is composed of the chairs of their respective regional advisory committees. These committees make the at-large selections to complete the tournament field, assisted in the evaluation of teams by the Regional Advisory Committees. These are the same national and regional committees which release the pre-tournament weekly NCAA Regional Rankings. The members of these committees can be found on pages 9-13 of the Pre-Championships Manual.

At-Large Selection Timeline and Process

The process of making the at-large berth selections for the NCAA tournament starts with weekly NCAA regional rankings mentioned above. These rankings are done following the fourth last, third last, second last and last week prior to the tournament selections being made. The first three of these weekly rankings are, by design, a direct foreshadowing of the at-large selections because they are (1) done by the same committee that makes the at-large tournament selections and (2) done by applying the at-large selection criteria. You can learn more about the NCAA Regional Rankings here or here.

Following the release of the third weekly regional rankings the process is as follows.

  • Conference championships are completed by 6:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, November 6.
  • The NCAA compiles the data corresponding to the at-large selection criteria (win-loss-tie percentage against Division III opponents, results versus ranked Division III teams, Division III Strength-of-schedule) and provides it to Regional Advisory Committees.
  • The Regional Advisory Committees do their fourth regional rankings in the same manner as the previous three weeks. The results versus ranked Division III teams (RvR) criteria is based on who was ranked in the third regional rankings that were released on Wednesday, November 1.
  • The national committee makes adjustments to the regional rankings as they see fit but does not publish them until after they have announced the tournament field (including the at-large berth selections).
  • An updated RvR is developed based on opponents were ranked in either the third or the just completed fourth regional rankings. This is the RvR that the national committee will use when comparing teams across regions on a national basis.
  • Pool B teams (independent institutions and institutions that are members of conferences that do not receive an automatic berth in the tournament) in the final regional rankings are identified.
  • The highest ranked Pool B candidate from each region is placed "on the board", the teams are discussed, and one team is selected for the lone Pool B berth.
  • Pool C teams (teams who were not awarded their conference's automatic berth and unselected Pool B teams) in the final regional rankings are identified.
  • The highest ranked Pool C candidate from each region is placed "on the board", the eight teams discussed, and one team is selected. The next highest ranked Pool C candidate from the selected team's region is added to the board and the process repeats until all 19 Pool C at-large berths have been awarded.

The 20 at-large selections are added to the 42 teams who were awarded their conference's automatic berth, completing the 62-team field at which point the committee begins the process of grouping the teams and developing the tournament bracket with geographical proximity playing a major role. You can read more about that here.

Background: Observations from the Past

The third NCAA weekly regional rankings, the last rankings published prior to the tournament field being announced, will be used 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 make the at-large selections and are done by applying the same criteria that 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. (Note: A fourth ranking is done Sunday night after all conference championships are complete and serves as the basis for the at-large selections, but those rankings will only be published after the tournament field is announced.)

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

  • In the past ten years (2007-2016) no men's team that was unranked in the third weekly regional rankings (those released the Wednesday before the selections) was selected.
  • There will probably be twice as many Pool C candidates in the rankings as available berths. For example, last year there were 41 Pool C men's teams in the third rankings but only 19 Pool C berths available.  In the five years before that, the ratio was 39/18, 38/18, 44/19, 38/20 and 40/19.
  • Regions generally have two or three ranked teams not selected, maybe one more or one less for the weakest and strongest regions in that particular year.
  • Within a region, rarely does a lower ranked team in the third weekly rankings get selected ahead of a higher ranked team. Last year there were two examples of this out of nineteen men's selections after an unusually high number of instances—four—in 2015. In 2014 there were only two examples of this and most years there has been just one instance of this. The few times a team has been selected instead of another that had been ranked higher, the results after the third published rankings served as a very reasonable explanation.
  • 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 because they are the most recent results nor because they may be considered "big" games, 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 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 to two-thirds of their regional rankings to be selected for an at-large berth.
  • 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. Furthermore, any team in need of an at-large berth presumably lost or tied in the final week minimizing chances they would climb the rankings.

PART II

By Christan Shirk

Using the Regional Rankings as a Guide

Well, that was quite the introduction. Let's now take a look at the teams that were ranked this year as well as a few others that we think may be ranked in the fourth regional rankings. We'll list the teams as ranked in the third published rankings followed by previously ranked teams and the additional teams we think may be ranked in the fourth rankings. The teams are color-coded according to their Pool: Pool A (AQ), Pool B, and Pool C. The Division III record, winning percentage, and record versus ranked teams have been updated to account for the results this past week that were not accounted for in the third weekly rankings. The Strength-of-Schedule (SoS) value is an approximate updated value that should be within a few percentage points.

Classification of teams: AQ (Pool A)   Pool B   Pool C
NEW ENGLAND REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
1 1 1 Tufts 15-1-2 (.889) .610 4-1-2 W4-0 Hamilton (H); W1-0 Middlebury (H)
2 2 2 Amherst 11-3-2 (.750) .619 4-1-1 D.N.P.
4 3 3 Brandeis 13-4-0 (.765) .627 4-4-0 W1-0 New York University (H)
6 4 4 Springfield 14-1-2 (.882) .562 4-0-0 W3-2 Clark (H); T0-0 WPI (H)
9 5 5 Bowdoin 10-4-3 (.676) .588 2-2-3 L1-0 Middlebury (N)
7 8 6 Middlebury 12-6-0 (.667) .627 4-4-0 W1-0 Bowdoin (N); L1-0 Tufts (A)
3 6 7 Connecticut College 9-3-4 (.688) .602 2-2-3 D.N.P.
5 7 8 Williams 8-3-5 (.656) .605 0-3-3 D.N.P.
9 Clark 9-5-4 (.611) .542 0-3-0 T2-2 MIT (H); L3-2 Springfield (A)
10 Endicott 13-4-3 (.725) .530 1-1-1 W2-1 Wentworth (H); W1-0 Gordon (H)
8 9 11 Mass-Boston 9-6-3 (.583) .554 0-1-1 L2-0 Rhode Island College (A)
11 11 12 Gordon 13-6-1 (.675) .542 0-3-1 W1-0 Western New England (H); L1-0 Endicott (A)
10 10 Johnson and Wales 15-2-2 (.842) .519 1-0-0 L2-1 Norwich (H)
12 WPI 13-5-2 (.700) .540 0-3-2 W1-0 Coast Guard (N); T0-0 Springfield (A)
12 Colby 6-6-2 (.500) .579 2-4-1 D.N.P.
Coast Guard 10-5-3 (.639) .540 1-2-0 L1-0 WPI (A)
EAST REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
2 1 1 Cortland State 15-3-0 (.833) .582 5-2-0 L3-1 Plattsburgh State (H)
1 2 2 Oneonta State 15-1-2 (.889) .596 3-1-2 W3-0 Geneseo State (H); W2-1 Plattsburgh State (H)
4 4 3 Rochester 11-3-3 (.735) .591 2-3-2 L3-2 Emory (A)
3 3 4 Buffalo State 14-2-3 (.816) .561 3-0-2 D.N.P.
6 5 Plattsburgh State 13-7-1 (.643) .615 2-6-0 W3-1 Cortland State (A); L2-1 Oneonta State (A)
8 5 6 Hobart 10-4-4 (.667) .578 2-2-1 W2-0 RIT (H); W2-0 Vassar (H)
5 8 7 Vassar 10-5-3 (.639) .564 0-2-1 W1-0 St. Lawrence (H); L2-0 Hobart (A)
7 6 Stevens 11-6-2 (.632) .575 2-4-0 W2-0 St. John Fisher (H); W1-0 Sage (H)
MID-ATLANTIC REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
1 1 1 Messiah 18-2-0 (.900) .608 7-2-0 W5-0 Arcadia (H); L2-1 Lycoming (H)
4 2 2 Lycoming 18-2-0 (.900) .569 5-1-0 W5-1 Lebanon Valley (H); W2-1 Messiah (A)
2 4 3 Johns Hopkins 14-1-3 (.861) .549 4-1-2 T2-2 Dickinson (H)
3 3 4 Gettysburg 13-5-0 (.722) .550 2-4-0 L1-0 Franklin and Marshall (N)
6 5 5 Dickinson 11-6-3 (.625) .601 4-6-1 W5-0 Haverford (A); T2-2 Johns Hopkins (A); L1-0 Franklin and Marshall (N)
7 6 6 Drew 19-0-1 (.975) .523 3-0-0 W4-0 Susquehanna (H); W3-1 Elizabethtown (H)
5 7 7 Haverford 10-5-3 (.639) .591 3-5-0 L5-0 Dickinson (H)
8 Franklin and Marshall 11-5-2 (.667) .604 4-3-2 W1-0 Gettysburg (N); W1-0 Dickinson (N)
8 8 9 Lebanon Valley 11-5-1 (.676) .551 1-3-0 L5-1 Lycoming (A)
9 10 10 Elizabethtown 10-7-2 (.579) .588 1-4-0 T0-0 Catholic (H); L3-1 Drew (A)
9 Scranton 10-7-0 (.588) .549 2-4-0 D.N.P.
10 Eastern 13-4-2 (.737) .535 0-2-0 W4-0 FDU-Florham (H); T1-1 DeSales (H)
SOUTH ATLANTIC REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
2 1 1 Lynchburg 16-1-2 (.895) .594 3-1-1 W1-0 Pfeiffer (H); W3-2 Randolph-Macon (H); W2-1 Washington and Lee (H)
1 2 2 Rowan 17-3-1 (.833) .610 3-3-0 W1-0 Stockton (H); L1-0 Rutgers-Newark (H)
3 3 3 Oglethorpe 16-1-1 (.917) .571 1-1-0 W2-1 Berry (H); W2-1 Centre (H)
5 4 4 Washington and Lee 14-4-1 (.763) .576 3-2-1 W4-1 Randolph (N); L2-1 Lynchburg (A)
6 6 5 Rutgers-Newark 20-2-0 (.909) .574 1-2-0 W2-1 Montclair State (H); W1-0 Rowan (A)
4 5 6 Emory 12-5-1 (.694) .641 2-3-1 W3-2 Rochester (H)
8 7 7 Christopher Newport 13-3-1 (.794) .546 1-3-0 W3-0 Salisbury (H); L3-1 Mary Washington (H)
7 8 8 Mary Washington 15-4-1 (.775) .564 2-3-0 W1-0 St. Mary's (Md.) (A); W3-1 Christopher Newport (A)
GREAT LAKES REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
1 1 1 John Carroll 15-2-2 (.842) .593 3-2-2 T1-1 Capital (H)
4 3 2 Otterbein 17-2-0 (.895) .568 5-1-0 W2-1 Marietta (H); W1-0 Capital (H)
2 2 3 Kenyon 15-2-3 (.825) .573 2-2-1 W1-0 Denison (H); T0-0 Ohio Wesleyan (H)
3 4 4 Carnegie Mellon 10-4-3 (.676) .629 1-3-3 L2-1 Case Western Reserve (A)
6 7 5 Thomas More 14-4-2 (.750) .575 1-1-1 W2-0 Washington and Jefferson (H); W1-0 Geneva (H)
7 8 6 Capital 12-7-2 (.619) .608 4-5-1 W2-0 Heidelberg (H); T1-1 John Carroll (A); L1-0 Otterbein (A)
8 5 7 Ohio Northern 12-6-2 (.650) .575 2-3-0 L1-0 Marietta (H)
5 6 8 Heidelberg 11-5-1 (.676) .545 2-4-0 L2-0 Capital (A)
Ohio Wesleyan 12-6-2 (.650) .587 1-6-1 W3-2 Wabash (H); T0-0 Kenyon (A)
Marietta 11-6-3 (.625) .554 2-3-3 W1-0 Ohio Northern (A); L2-1 Otterbein (A)
CENTRAL REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
1 2 1 Chicago 16-2-0 (.889) .638 7-2-0 W2-1 Washington U. (H)
2 1 2 North Park 16-1-1 (.917) .571 4-0-0 W1-0 North Central (Ill.) (H); W4-0 Carthage (H)
5 3 Dominican 14-4-0 (.778) .539 2-2-0 W2-1 Benedictine (H); W2-1 MSOE (H)
4 4 4 Calvin 19-0-1 (.975) .516 0-0-0 W5-1 Trine (H); W5-0 Adrian (H)
3 5 Benedictine 14-6-0 (.700) .540 1-4-0 L2-1 Dominican (A)
6 6 Aurora 12-7-0 (.632) .531 2-4-0 D.N.P.
3 5 Washington U. 7-7-2 (.500) .628 1-6-0 L2-1 Chicago (A)
6 Concordia (Wis.) 10-4-2 (.688) .498 2-1-0 L3-2 MSOE (H)
NORTH REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
1 1 1 St. Thomas 19-1-0 (.950) .570 4-1-0 W3-0 Hamline (H); W5-2 Macalester (H)
2 2 Loras 13-5-1 (.711) .586 3-2-1 W3-0 Simpson (H); T2-2 Luther (A)
5 5 3 Luther 11-4-5 (.675) .584 1-2-3 W2-0 Nebraska Wesleyan (H); T2-2 Loras (H)
4 6 4 St. Norbert 14-4-2 (.750) .529 2-2-0 L2-1 Lake Forest (H)
2 3 5 UW-Platteville 11-3-2 (.750) .561 1-2-1 D.N.P.
7 7 6 Simpson 15-3-2 (.800) .531 0-3-0 L3-0 Loras (A)
3 4 7 Macalester 12-6-2 (.650) .577 0-3-1 W1-0 Carleton (H); W1-0 Gustavus Adolphus (A); L5-2 St. Thomas (A)
6 Wartburg 8-5-5 (.583) .574 1-4-2 D.N.P.
WEST REGION 11/1 data sheet (for results thru 10/29)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
1 1 1 Trinity (Texas) 20-1-0 (.952) .538 6-1-0 W2-1 Austin (H); W4-0 University of Dallas (A)
3 4 2 Colorado College 11-4-4 (.684) .531 2-2-2 L1-0 Southwestern (H)
4 3 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor 15-2-1 (.861) .540 2-1-1 W4-0 University of the Ozarks (H); W1-0 Texas-Tyler (H)
2 2 4 Texas-Tyler 11-3-2 (.750) .562 1-2-0 W1-0 Texas-Dallas (H); L1-0 Mary Hardin-Baylor (A)
6 5 5 Redlands 14-4-2 (.750) .549 0-3-0 W3-0 Pomona-Pitzer (H); L2-1 Cal Lutheran (H)
5 6 6 University of Dallas 12-4-2 (.722) .511 1-3-1 W4-1 Southwestern (H); L4-0 Trinity (Texas) (H)
Cal Lutheran 13-4-2 (.737) .524 2-1-1 W3-1 Chapman (H); W2-1 Redlands (A)

SoS - Division III Strength of Schedule (weighted OWP-OOWP)
RvR - Record versus Ranked Opponents (opponents ranked in the third weekly rankings released November 1.)
(for further explanation of how Strength of Schedule is calulated and Record versus Ranked Opponents is determined, read this or the Pre-Championships Manual, pgs. 22, 45.)

The Pool B Candidates

The third published NCAA regional rankings contained just one Pool B team which matches perfectly with the one Pool B at-large berth available. For comparison purposes, however, we'll pick the next best Pool B team as well as the champion of the newly formed American Collegiate Athletic Conference (ACAA), which does not receive an automatic berth to the tournament.

POOL B CANDIDATES (listed alphabetically)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
2 3 5 UW-Platteville 11-3-2 (.750) .561 1-2-1 D.N.P.
UW-Whitewater 10-6-4 (.600) .565 0-5-2 D.N.P.
Pine Manor 12-5-1 (.694) .435 0-1-0 W5-1 Valley Forge (H); W4-3 SUNY Canton (H)

The Pool C Candidates

The third published NCAA regional rankings contained 42 Pool C teams, which is a typical number. More improtantly, it is more than double the 19 available Pool C berths. Plus, we will include Coast Guard and Marietta as Pool C teams that could be ranked in the fourth rankings. So, which 19 of the 44 ranked or potentially ranked teams in blue will the NCAA committee select? Let's start by groupong those 44 Pool C candidates in the table below. The 19 at-large selections will come from this list.

POOL C CANDIDATES (listed alphabetically)
Rank School Division III Past Week's Results
(not accounted for in rankings)
1st 2nd 3rd   Record (Pct.)     SoS     RvR  
2 2 2 Amherst 11-3-2 (.750) .619 4-1-1 D.N.P.
6 6 Aurora 12-7-0 (.632) .531 2-4-0 D.N.P.
3 5 Benedictine 14-6-0 (.700) .540 1-4-0 L2-1 Dominican (A)
9 5 5 Bowdoin 10-4-3 (.676) .588 2-2-3 L1-0 Middlebury (N)
4 3 3 Brandeis 13-4-0 (.765) .627 4-4-0 W1-0 New York University (H)
3 3 4 Buffalo State 14-2-3 (.816) .561 3-0-2 D.N.P.
7 8 6 Capital 12-7-2 (.619) .608 4-5-1 W2-0 Heidelberg (H); T1-1 John Carroll (A); L1-0 Otterbein (A)
3 4 4 Carnegie Mellon 10-4-3 (.676) .629 1-3-3 L2-1 Case Western Reserve (A)
8 7 7 Christopher Newport 13-3-1 (.794) .546 1-3-0 W3-0 Salisbury (H); L3-1 Mary Washington (H)
9 Clark 9-5-4 (.611) .542 0-3-0 T2-2 MIT (H); L3-2 Springfield (A)
Coast Guard 10-5-3 (.639) .540 1-2-0 L1-0 WPI (A)
3 4 2 Colorado College 11-4-4 (.684) .531 2-2-2 L1-0 Southwestern (H)
3 6 7 Connecticut College 9-3-4 (.688) .602 2-2-3 D.N.P.
2 1 1 Cortland State 15-3-0 (.833) .582 5-2-0 L3-1 Plattsburgh State (H)
6 5 5 Dickinson 11-6-3 (.625) .601 4-6-1 W5-0 Haverford (A); T2-2 Johns Hopkins (A); L1-0 Franklin and Marshall (N)
9 10 10 Elizabethtown 10-7-2 (.579) .588 1-4-0 T0-0 Catholic (H); L3-1 Drew (A)
4 5 6 Emory 12-5-1 (.694) .641 2-3-1 W3-2 Rochester (H)
3 3 4 Gettysburg 13-5-0 (.722) .550 2-4-0 L1-0 Franklin and Marshall (N)
11 11 12 Gordon 13-6-1 (.675) .542 0-3-1 W1-0 Western New England (H); L1-0 Endicott (A)
5 7 7 Haverford 10-5-3 (.639) .591 3-5-0 L5-0 Dickinson (H)
5 6 8 Heidelberg 11-5-1 (.676) .545 2-4-0 L2-0 Capital (A)
1 1 1 John Carroll 15-2-2 (.842) .593 3-2-2 T1-1 Capital (H)
2 4 3 Johns Hopkins 14-1-3 (.861) .549 4-1-2 T2-2 Dickinson (H)
2 2 3 Kenyon 15-2-3 (.825) .573 2-2-1 W1-0 Denison (H); T0-0 Ohio Wesleyan (H)
8 8 9 Lebanon Valley 11-5-1 (.676) .551 1-3-0 L5-1 Lycoming (A)
5 5 3 Luther 11-4-5 (.675) .584 1-2-3 W2-0 Nebraska Wesleyan (H); T2-2 Loras (H)
3 4 7 Macalester 12-6-2 (.650) .577 0-3-1 W1-0 Carleton (H); W1-0 Gustavus Adolphus (A); L5-2 St. Thomas (A)
Marietta 11-6-3 (.625) .554 2-3-3 W1-0 Ohio Northern (A); L2-1 Otterbein (A)
8 9 11 Mass-Boston 9-6-3 (.583) .554 0-1-1 L2-0 Rhode Island College (A)
1 1 1 Messiah 18-2-0 (.900) .608 7-2-0 W5-0 Arcadia (H); L2-1 Lycoming (H)
7 8 6 Middlebury 12-6-0 (.667) .627 4-4-0 W1-0 Bowdoin (N); L1-0 Tufts (A)
8 5 7 Ohio Northern 12-6-2 (.650) .575 2-3-0 L1-0 Marietta (H)
6 5 Plattsburgh State 13-7-1 (.643) .615 2-6-0 W3-1 Cortland State (A); L2-1 Oneonta State (A)
6 5 5 Redlands 14-4-2 (.750) .549 0-3-0 W3-0 Pomona-Pitzer (H); L2-1 Cal Lutheran (H)
4 4 3 Rochester 11-3-3 (.735) .591 2-3-2 L3-2 Emory (A)
1 2 2 Rowan 17-3-1 (.833) .610 3-3-0 W1-0 Stockton (H); L1-0 Rutgers-Newark (H)
7 7 6 Simpson 15-3-2 (.800) .531 0-3-0 L3-0 Loras (A)
6 4 4 Springfield 14-1-2 (.882) .562 4-0-0 W3-2 Clark (H); T0-0 WPI (H)
4 6 4 St. Norbert 14-4-2 (.750) .529 2-2-0 L2-1 Lake Forest (H)
2 2 4 Texas-Tyler 11-3-2 (.750) .562 1-2-0 W1-0 Texas-Dallas (H); L1-0 Mary Hardin-Baylor (A)
5 6 6 University of Dallas 12-4-2 (.722) .511 1-3-1 W4-1 Southwestern (H); L4-0 Trinity (Texas) (H)
5 8 7 Vassar 10-5-3 (.639) .564 0-2-1 W1-0 St. Lawrence (H); L2-0 Hobart (A)
5 4 4 Washington and Lee 14-4-1 (.763) .576 3-2-1 W4-1 Randolph (N); L2-1 Lynchburg (A)
5 7 8 Williams 8-3-5 (.656) .605 0-3-3 D.N.P.

 

PART III

By Ryan Harmanis

Pool B Analysis and Predictions

There is one Pool B berth available, and only one of the ten Pool B teams in the regional rankings. Congrats, UW-Platteville—you’re a lock for the Pool B berth. There is no reason to think that UW-Whitewater will jump into the final North Region rankings, much less that they would move ahead of Platteville.  Pine Manor, the champion of and lone winning team from the newly formed American Collegiate Athletic Conference (ACAA), which does not receive an automatic berth to the tournament, has a sub-.450 SoS that simply prevents the team from being given any consideration.

Pool C Analysis and Predictions

First, I narrowed the above list of 44 teams down to 27 teams that have realistic shots at the 19 Pool C bids. The average profile for these 27 teams: .745 winning percentage, .587 strength-of-schedule (SoS), 2.85 ranked wins; .516 winning percentage against ranked teams.

Keep in mind that the record-versus-ranked numbers might change for a few teams. The current stat reflects last week’s rankings, and the regional committees will use that to rank teams within each region. But when the committee starts comparing teams for at-large bids, they look at the record-versus-ranked against any team ranked in the third or fourth rankings. That could have implications in West (if Cal Lutheran jumps in), in the Great Lakes (Ohio Wesleyan or Marietta), and perhaps elsewhere.

Here we go.

POOL C LOCKS (1)

1. Messiah (18-2-0) - The category says it all. First name on the board, no questions asked.

SAFE, NO WORRIES (2)

2. Cortland State (15-3-0) - Five ranked wins, great record, above-average SoS. No problems for Cortland.

3. Rowan (17-3-1) - Rowan has a great winning percentage, a top-10 SoS, and three ranked wins.

COMFORTABLY IN (5)

4. Amherst (11-3-2) - Elite SoS and a 4-1-1 record-versus-ranked, which includes Tufts’ only loss (and goal conceded). The winning percentage is sufficient, if not spectacular. Keep in mind that the last three national champions lost in the NESCAC quarterfinals—exactly where Amherst fell last week.

5. Johns Hopkins (14-1-3) - The Blue Jays have a below-average SoS but an elite winning percentage and an elite record versus ranked teams. Losing in the conference semifinals was disappointing, but Hopkins shouldn't worry at all.

6. Brandeis (13-4-0) - The UAA gets its first bid. The Judges have a top-five SoS and a strong 4-3-0 record-versus-ranked. The New England region as a whole is a bit weaker this year, but the top few teams are easy picks.

7. John Carroll (15-2-2) - Of the remaining teams, John Carroll has the second-highest winning percentage and an above average record-versus-ranked. If Marietta or Ohio Wesleyan enters the final Great Lakes rankings, a fourth ranked win would only confirm JCU’s bid.

8. Springfield (14-1-2) - The SoS is below-average, but Springfield has the best remaining winning percentage and went 4-0-0 against ranked teams. The Pride have the most wins versus ranked and the best winning percentage of any remaining Pool C team, and should be in.

IN GOOD SHAPE (3)

9. Buffalo State (14-2-3) - I expect Buffalo State to jump Rochester in the East. Once on the board, the Bengals have the best record-versus-ranked and the second-best winning percentage of the remaining teams. The SoS isn’t great, but it isn’t disqualifying.

10. Kenyon (15-2-3) - The Lords have a balanced profile that should be more than enough. Kenyon is the only team left with a winning percentage over 0.800, and, like John Carroll, could pick up a third ranked win depending on the final rankings.

11. Washington and Lee (14-4-1) - Despite a strong second half, W&L couldn’t overcome Lynchburg in the ODAC final for the second straight year. The Generals should be fine, though, as they have the second-best remaining winning percentage and are the only team left on my board with a winning record-versus-ranked.

We have sixteen teams remaining for just eight spots. At this point, I think it’s possible that any one of these teams could miss out. As always, the committee will have to make trade-offs between winning percentage, SoS, and ranked wins. Like the committee, I favor a balanced resume, but if resumes are close then a big gap on one metric could be decisive.

PROBABLY OKAY, BUT STILL NERVOUS (5)

12. Middlebury (12-6-0) - An elite SoS and four ranked wins out of eight games should be enough to overcome a winning percentage that is slightly below-average for the remaining teams.

13. Emory (12-5-1) -

14. Rochester (11-3-3) -

These conference foes should get in around the same time. Emory gets a slight nod for a head-to-head win this weekend. Emory’s 0.694 winning percentage and two ranked wins are average for the remaining teams, but the Eagles have the highest SoS in all of Pool C. As for Rochester, the winning percentage and SoS are above average for the remaining teams, so the well-balanced profile carries the day.

The remaining teams’ profiles are almost identical, and they all have flaws. It’s almost guessing at this point.

15. Gettysburg (13-5-0) -

16. Dickinson (11-6-3) -

Flip a coin between these two. Dickinson has the better schedule and twice as many ranked wins, but Gettysburg has a much higher winning percentage (0.722 to 0.625) and won the head-to-head match-up. I could see both teams getting in, or both teams being left out.

PICK ’EM (3 of 6)

17. Bowdoin (10-4-3) - Bowdoin has the most balanced profile remaining. The two ranked wins are sufficient, as is a near-0.600 SoS and a winning percentage of 0.676.

18. Capital (12-7-2) - The SoS is stellar, and Capital has improved the record-versus-ranked to four (possibly five) wins, but two hurdles remain. First, if the Crusaders don’t jump Carnegie Mellon, they might never be up for discussion. Second, seven losses might be too many. Capital has the exact same record that Wheaton (Mass.)—one of my big misses—had last year.

19. Carnegie Mellon (10-4-3) - Despite a terrible stretch run, the Tartans have an elite SoS and a serviceable winning percentage compared to the teams left. The one ranked win looms large, but the committee has had Carnegie above Capital all year. The question is whether the committee will flip them.

20. Plattsburgh State (13-7-1) - The overall record-versus-ranked (2-6-0) takes some value away from the two ranked wins, and the winning percentage is poor. SoS is very good, but I’m not sure it’s enough.

21. Connecticut College (9-3-4) - The SoS is very good and the two ranked wins are fine. A tough question is whether Connecticut College could be the fourth NESCAC Pool C before the West (Colorado College) and the North (Luther, St. Norbert) regions get a single bid.

22. Luther (11-4-5) - The winning percentage is average at this point, but the SoS is good. I don’t think a lone ranked win will offset everything else, but Luther would be the North region’s first Pool C bid, so that could help break a tie.

WRONG SIDE OF THE BUBBLE (5)

23. Colorado College (11-4-5) - The West often gets one bid even if the profile is not quite there, This year, unfortunately, I think the West’s Pool C teams don’t stack up. Colorado’s SoS is awful and the winning percentage is not good enough.

24. St. Norbert (14-4-2) - The winning percentage is well above average, plus two ranked wins, but I don’t see how St. Norbert jumps Luther given results this past week. The Green Knights can’t get in if they never come up for discussion.

25. Haverford (10-5-3) - The three ranked wins are good and the SoS is solid, but the winning percentage and overall record-versus-ranked is poor. Losing your final game 5-0 does not help my perception (or the committee’s), even if it technically doesn’t matter.

26. Christopher Newport (14-3-1) - The winning percentage is very good, but the SoS is not, and a lone ranked win probably won’t do it.

27. Texas-Tyler (11-3-3) - The same is true here, and UT-Tyler also would have to jump Colorado College just to be up for discussion.

 

PART IV

By Ryan Harmanis and Christan Shirk

Some Final Observations and Comments

● Comparison to Years’ Past – Below is the average profile for Pool C at-large selections from the past four years. We don't expect any significant departure from that this year, but among this year's candidates for the Pool C at-large berths it appears that we are seeing a little higher strength-of-schedule but with that a slight increase in losses versus ranked teams and small drop in overall winning percentage.

  Year    Teams  Record  Win%   SoS  vs. Ranked
   W       L       T       W       L       T   
2016 19 12.6 4.0 1.8 .728 .577 2.8 2.4 0.6
2015 18 13.2 3.2 2.2 .769 .576 2.8 2.2 0.8
2014 18 13.2 3.2 2.4 .764 .578 2.6 1.9 1.1
2013 19 14.1 3.8 1.6 .762 .570 3.0 2.8 0.8
Avg 18.5 13.3 3.6 2.0 .756 .575 2.8 2.3 0.8

● Bubble Busters – Very few true bubble-busters this year. We only count three: Franklin and Marshall (Centennial), Ohio Wesleyan (NCAC), and WPI (NEWMAC), who by winning their respective conference's automatic berth (AQ), sent highly-ranked conference favorites Johns Hopkins, Kenyon, and Springfield into Pool C where they are assured of being selected at the expense of three bubble teams. However, because most years more conference favorites get bumped, this year's bubble teams can't have too many complaints.

● Weaker Bubble? – The flip side of the lack of conference upsets (i.e. bubble busters), is that teams that normally wouldn't have the resume to be in consideration remain in contention. In other words, the bottom of the bubble is relatively weak and with less distinction betweeen the teams' profiles. That makes the committee's job (and ours) more difficult.

● Conference Strength – This year the bubble will be tested by the UAA, the NESCAC, and the Centennial. Each conference has one lock and then two or three teams that we either don't feel 100% certain about or have squarely on the bubble. Will the committee really put in a fourth or fifth UAA and NESCAC team and four Centennial teams? It’s happened before. Also, even with Ohio Northern having a down year, the OAC is as strong as it's ever been, and a perfectly reasonable argument can be made for three OAC teams getting into the tournament, but will the committee go that deep in a "mid-major" conference that usually doesn't get a single at-large berth?

● Regional Imbalance – Regional strength matters, as there are only 19 bids to spread out over eight regions. Our predictions only include one team from the West, North, or Central having a chance—and only a 50/50 one, at that—of being selected. That's a result of the normal problems in those regions (weaker SoS overall, fewer ranked games) plus most of the favorites winning in those regions. However, we could see a team from the West and/or the North getting bids, if only because the teams are similar and there could be an inherent "regional balance" consideration by the committee.


Comments or feedback for the authors?  Email Christan Shirk and Ryan Harmanis.



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]

Questions or comments?

»  E-mail Christan Shirk
Previous
Nov 8: 2018 Tournament Field Factoids
Nov 4: Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions
Oct 27: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Oct 13: Coming Wednesday: the rankings that matter
Sep 6: Letting go . . . of unfinished business
Sep 3: What's new in 2018
Nov 10: 2017 Tournament Field Factoids
Nov 5: Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions
Nov 3: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Oct 15: Coming Wednesday: the rankings that matter
Nov 12: 2016 Tournament Field Factoids
Nov 6: Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions
Oct 30: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Oct 15: Coming Wednesday: the rankings that matter
Sep 10: Week 1 Flybys
Sep 1: What's new in 2016? - Part 2: Rules Changes
Aug 25: What's new in 2016? - Part 1
Nov 11: 2015 Tournament Field Factoids
Nov 8: Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions
Nov 5: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Oct 15: The rankings that matter are coming next week
Oct 9: 2015 Midseason Flyovers
Oct 4: D3soccer.com Year Nine: State of the Website
Sep 28: Kelsey Graham is named a finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year
Sep 4: D-III soccer represented among Top 30 honorees for NCAA Woman of the Year
Sep 1: Kyle Goodwin, Natalie Caney net season's first goals
Aug 20: What's new for 2015 season?
Jul 23: Division III soccer players get conference nod for NCAA Woman of the Year
Jul 14: Lillie Toaspern pursues pro career with the Chicago Red Stars
Jun 19: Thirty-one Division III soccer players nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year
Apr 30: Alumni game scheduled for Saturday in effort to save Titan soccer
Apr 22: Curtains on UW-Oshkosh men’s soccer?
Nov 20: Getting to know the 2014 men's Sweet 16
Nov 9: Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions
Nov 8: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Oct 15: The rankings that count are coming next week
Aug 27: What's new in 2014? - Part 2: Rules Changes
Aug 22: What's new in 2014? - Part 1
Nov 22: Getting to know the 2013 men's Sweet 16
Nov 10: Men's at-large berth analysis and predictions
Nov 7: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Nov 6: The most important rankings of the year
Oct 23: New criteria debuts in today's NCAA Regional Rankings
Sep 28: Two streaks end while another one continues
Sep 15: Week 3 Flybys, weekend edition
Sep 15: Week 3 Flybys, weekend edition
Aug 29: What's new in 2013?
Nov 14: Welcome to the Sweet 16, Part 2: the Men
Nov 13: Welcome to the Sweet 16, Part 1: the Women
Nov 4: At-large berth analysis and predictions
Nov 3: AQ's, Pool B and Pool C? What does it all mean?
Oct 1: Dear Men's Top 25 Voters
Sep 22: Week 4 Flybys, weekend edition
Sep 21: Week 4 Flybys, midweek edition
Sep 17: Week 3 Flybys
Sep 4: Labor Day Weekend Flybys
Sep 3: New rules, new conference, name changes
Aug 31: 2012 Preseason Flybys (INCOMPLETE)
Nov 14: Hellooooo Neumann!
Nov 13: A Super Saturday to like and dislike
Nov 6: At-large berth analysis and predictions
Nov 4: So what's this talk about AQ's, Pool B and Pool C?
Oct 24: Week 8 Flyby Distractions
Oct 19: NCAA Regional Rankings (aka 'The Rankings that Matter')
Oct 17: Week 7 Flybys, Conference Edition
Oct 14: Midseason stars and surprises
Oct 8: Week 6 Flybys, weekend edition
Oct 6: Week 6 Flybys, midweek edition
Oct 1: Week 5 Flybys, weekend edition
Sep 29: Week 5 Flybys, midweek edition
Sep 26: Did you know?
Sep 19: Who's top dog after 3 weeks?
Sep 10: Friday Notes, Weekend Questions
Sep 2: Off with a bang!
Sep 1: Preseason perspectives
Sep 1: After 17 years, trailblazer calls it a day