Sunday countdown: remaining automatic bids up for grabs today
By Ryan Harmanis, D3sports.com
Will Gustavus see a Pool C bid coming their
Well, here we are. 24 hours until Selection Monday, and Pool C now has 41 teams awaiting their fates tomorrow afternoon (listed by regional ranking):
New England Region: (2) Brandeis (13–4–1); (3) Gordon (18–2–0); (6) Roger Williams (15–5–2); (9) Wesleyan (9–6–1); (10) Nichols (12–2–5); (11) Tufts (8–5–2).
East Region: (4) Oneonta State (10–4–5); (5) Brockport State (11–2–5); (6) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (11–5–2); (7) Skidmore (12–6–2); (8) Union (12–3–2); (9) Vassar (8–5–5).
Mid-Atlantic Region: (1) Messiah (18–1–1); (4) Catholic (12–5–2); (5) Misericordia (13–5–1); (6) Eastern (14–4–1); (7) Scranton (10–3–4); (8) Haverford (11–5–2).
South Atlantic Region: (2) Montclair State (15–3–2); (3) Salisbury (17–3–0); (5) TCNJ (12–6–2); (6) Rutgers-Newark (17–5–1); (7) Emory (11–5–2).
Great Lakes Region: (2) Carnegie Mellon (11–2–3); (3) Oberlin (13–3–4); (4) Kenyon (14–4–3); (5) DePauw (14–2–3); (7) John Carroll (15–4–1); (8) Denison (11–4–3).
Central Region: (2) North Park (11–5–3); (3) Carthage (13–7–1); (4) Elmhurst (11–4–3); (5) Chicago (9–5–2); (6) Calvin (14–5–1).
North Region: (3) Wartburg (15–4–2); (4) Gustavus Adolphus (13–3–1); (5) Carleton (15–2–3); (6) Luther (14–6–0); (7) St. Olaf (14–4–1).
West Region: (3) Texas-Dallas (12–1–6).
Yesterday was a great day for bubble teams, as nearly every top-seeded team took home its automatic bid. This included five top-ranked regional teams (#2 Ohio Wesleyan, #3 Rutgers-Camden, #4 Stevens, #6 Loras and #13 Wheaton (Ill.)), setting up the possibility that #1 Messiah could be the only top-ranked team requiring an at-large bid. With that in mind, let’s examine the remaining conference championship games that will determine who gets in and who stays home next weekend.
We kick things off in the American Southwest Conference, where Texas-Tyler (9–2–5, unranked in West) visits Hardin-Simmons (10–3–5, 6th in West). Hardin-Simmons began the season with three straight losses, but is riding a 15-game unbeaten streak and hopes to avoid the bubble by picking up a win today. With Texas-Dallas (12–1–6, 3rd in West) well positioned for a Pool C bid, Hardin-Simmons needs to win today as it would be difficult to picture the ASC receiving three bids.
In the Centennial, a match-up of top 25 teams sees #23 Dickinson (14–4–1, 3rd in Mid-Atlantic) take on #25 Franklin & Marshall (13–3–2, 2nd in Mid-Atlantic). Dickinson will have payback in mind after the Diplomats took them apart 4–0 in their first meeting. While this shapes up as an exciting game, both teams are most likely secure should they fall to Pool C.
The stacked New England region has Wheaton (Mass.) (15–5–0, 8th in New England) heading to MIT (13–3–2, 7th in New England) for the NEWMAC’s title tilt. MIT has been rolling, winning eight in a row (including a 2–1 decision over today’s opponent) before needing penalties to reach the finals. They will come up against a Wheaton team that has been just as hot, winning six straight. Considering the strength of the region, the loser of this game still has a shot at a bid but will be forced to endure a difficult 24 hours in Pool C.
The NESCAC, traditionally guaranteed several entrants to the big dance, will probably be limited to two bids this year. Today’s matchup features those two squads, as #5 Amherst (14–0–2, 1st in New England) hosts Williams (11–5–0, 5th in New England). After picking up two wins this week, including an all-important victory over Wesleyan (9–6–1, 9th in New England), Williams has a strong resume and should make it in through Pool C. Amherst, on the other hand, is very much in the running to receive one of the three coveted first-round byes if they can duplicate September’s 1–0 win.
We end our run of conference championships out west, as Southwestern (14–6–1, 5th in West) hosts Trinity (Texas) (17–2–1, 1st in West). Southwestern sent Trinity to its worst start in recent memory with a 2-1 win that dropped the Tigers to 2–2–1, but coach Paul McGinlay righted the ship and Trinity has won 15 in a row. While Trinity is assured a spot in tomorrow’s bracket, Southwestern will be biting its fingernails if it cannot avoid a repeat of Trinity’s 1–0 victory just 10 days ago.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the absence of many true bubble-bursting teams, Pool C is sure to be a tight and difficult place to be heading into tomorrow. We’ll take a more in-depth look at how things stand following today’s games, so for now, sit back and enjoy.