Just like over in Division 1, there was a lack of movement last week in my Bracketology system, so I waited until this week to post an updated seeding breakdown. We got some more heavyweight games completed, though few surprises came from the final scores. While the teams at the top in D2 are firmly entrenched, there is plenty of movement in the middle and lower seeds. In case you need a refresher, here is a link to my methodology again.
So here is the Early April Division 2 Bracketology:
Who Made It, Who Didn’t
Right off the bat, the field is completely the same from the last edition. So if you were hoping your team hopped in off the bubble, it hasn’t happened yet. But as I’ll explain ahead, the bubble in D2 could have some movement ahead.
For now, the last team in off the bubble is Dayton. But that hold on a position in the tournament is tenuous at best for Charlie Mark and the Flyers, as their schedule is unusually small and their best win is over a questionable Briarcliffe squad. What’s even more important for the Flyers, is they may be playing for their At-Large lives tomorrow night against the team that is poised to jump them: Indiana Tech. While the Warriors don’t have a signature win either, they scheduled tougher than Dayton. Their best win is over a disappointing Washington-St. Louis team. Both Indiana Tech and Dayton will play CCLA foe Grand Valley State before the CCLA tournament, and a win there could help their At-Large position immensely. But the game Friday between Indiana Tech and Dayton serves as a de facto elimination game from At-Large consideration for the two teams.
Dayton is the last one in, what about the other At-Large teams? Here they are listed in rank order of first At-Large selected to last team in off the bubble:
- St. John’s
- Grand Valley State
- Palm Beach Atlantic
- Florida Gulf Coast
- Sam Houston State
- North Dakota State
It should come as no surprise that St. John’s is the top At-Large and has the 3 seed locked down. If the Johnnies are able to turn the score around against St. Thomas in the UMLL championship, then maybe they could persuade the selection committee into a 1 or a 2 seed.
Elon has single handedly sent the PCLL stock falling, as the Phoenix posted big wins against Briarcliffe and Stonehill on the road. The loss to Sam Houston State is looking more and more like an aberration. The selection committee has to assume that despite Elon’s history of showing up some days and not on others, that they’ll be able to make the short trip to Greenville quite easily.
Back from the dead, Grand Valley State put up a big eight-goal win over fellow At-Large North Dakota State. Thanks to that game, the two teams went opposite directions in this week’s Bracketology, with Grand Valley jumping all the way from 15 to 7 thanks to both human and computer polls spreading the love. Rumors of the Lakeshow’s demise were greatly exaggerated it appears.
Palm Beach Atlantic and Florida Gulf Coast are still buoyed in relatively the same position, and a head-to-head matchup could flip-flop the two teams’ positions as we get closer to Greenville. The computers love both teams’ resumes so far, but beware of SCAD in the SELC tournament. The Bees have postseason experience and certainly have been reading all the forum posts about how they don’t belong in this year’s national rankings.
And finally Sam Houston State is looking pretty safe to get an At-Large bid thanks to their trip to Florida earlier this year. The flameout against PBA notwithstanding, the Bearkats appear to have earned their way back to Greenville and another attempt to silence the LSA haters.
Most of the Automatic Qualifiers have stayed the same, but we’ve had some movement thanks to a couple key results. Grove City has solidified its position as de facto CCLA champ (GVSU will have something to say about that come May), and for now has moved all the way to the 6 seed. Concordia had a strong trip to Utah, but couldn’t pull it out against Westminster and the computers had no mercy following the loss. Despite appearing to be a shoe-in for the SLC AQ, the Eagles have dropped down to the unenviable 8 seed position.
The first teams out are listed as follows, in order of next to receive an At-Large and so on:
- Indiana Tech
- Siena Heights
All these teams have quite the gap to overcome to get into the At-Large discussion, and most will likely have their eyes set on their league’s AQ bid in May to get a ticket to Greenville. SCAD is the team that could most shake things up with a game left against Florida Gulf Coast. Portland will have two shots at WOU potentially, and Gonzaga would get one of the two if they make it to the PNCLL title game. Regardless of those big matchups, it’s unlikely any of these teams listed will get legitimate At-Large discussion.
I’m going to keep beating the drum, because I believe the product will improve because of it: there should be ZERO first round repeat matchups from the regular season! The SELC makes things somewhat tough to seed everyone having four teams projected in the field currently, but note that all the seeds in this projection should make sense and provide great matchups on Day 1.
Given my matchups that I slated in this projection, I would argue that outside of St. Thomas/St. John’s/Westminster, there are a variety of potential first round upsets. In a Liberty/Western Oregon matchup, you would see a team making its first trip to the National Tourament facing off against a team making its sixth straight appearance. Florida Gulf Coast/Grand Valley State is another new blood/blue blood matchup that provides a great matchup. And if there were Vegas odds for MCLA games, I think some bookies could have North Dakota State favored by a couple goals against an unpredictable Elon team.
So it’s starting to take shape. The teams on the bubble have to keep winning, and the AQ’s have yet to be decided. But by and large we have a pretty good idea of who should be competing in Greenville. Let me know what you think of this Bracketology in the comments, on Twitter @PattonLAS, or in the LAS forums!