As we introduce our first MCLA Division 2 Bracketology, I have to immediately warn you that this might throw your perceptions of D2 for a loop. In case you didn’t read our intro, you can check it out here and read about the methodology. The methodology we use to create our bracket has a huge impact in how we view Division 2 and create our seedings and matchups for the first round. The overall themes you will see when looking at where we placed teams will be scheduling tough and winning games.
The Bracket – Week of March 25th
Who Made It, Who Didn’t
The D2 bubble is quite different from D1. In D2, there is a noticeable “cliff” from one group of teams to the next, and what is very nice about this version of bracketology, that “cliff” presents itself right after the 8th and final At-Large team is selected. Take a look at the chart below, which shows our proprietary ranking system and how it ranks those on the bubble and those beyond:
|12||Western Oregon (AQ)||19.667|
|14||Sam Houston State||19.000|
You’ll see that Western Oregon and US Coast Guard are given Automatic Qualifiers for now, as I have defaulted them as league champs as the highest rated teams in their league before the rest of their league games and playoffs, that could all change. What is critical for the D2 breakdown, is that Sam Houston is the final At-Large selection, but WOU is an AQ that could be challenged by Portland which is at 19 for now in our ranking system (again read our methodology here). With WOU’s strong position based on strong OOC scheduling and strong position in all computer and human polls, they will get an At-Large should they be upset in the PNCLL playoffs. Good news for the Wolves, bad news for Sam Houston which for the first time this year will not benefit from an AQ from the LSA after they lost UT-Dallas before the season began. In this version, Sam Houston makes it with a strong win over Elon and strong OOC trip in general that has kept the Bearkats high in all polls, but you can see the potential for changes on a dime.
For 2013, there are eight AQ conferences in D2, and 8 at-large berths. Here are your AQ’s in order:
- St. Thomas (UMLC)
- Westminster (RMLC)
- Liberty (SELC)
- Concordia (SLC)
- Dayton (CCLA)
- Western Oregon (PNCLL)
- US Coast Guard (PCLL)
- GRLC Champ – presumably WU-St. Louis based on past history, but Lindenwood-Belleville is making a strong case and will be able to play to prove they belong; either way no at-larges from the GRLC by a long shot in 2013
- No at-larges from the WCLL either which has no AQ with two of their seven teams being D1A Football schools, and the conference does not meet the minimum teams for an AQ
The At-larges in order:
- St. John’s
- North Dakota State (UMLC has three of our rankings Top 5 teams)
- Palm Beach Atlantic
- Florida Gulf Coast
- Grove City
- Grand Valley State
- Sam Houston State
Just like in D1, it wasn’t too hard to prevent first round repeat matchups. In D2 I did have to shuffle two teams to prevent matchups, as our system originally spit out FGCU and Elon to match up again. As I explained in my D1 bracketology, I believe you should be able to move the bottom eight seeds up or down a spot to prevent matchups quite easily. The top eight seeds have earned that position and should only be moved if absolutely necessary.
US Coast Guard at 14? Really? You better believe it. Not only did the Bears not schedule many OOC games, Kennesaw and SCAD ended up being busts. The computers hate the Coast Guard Academy and they get no bonuses for quality wins so far. Further, Briarcliffe is not looked upon kindly by computers either, with almost identical problems as the Coast Guard. If the Selection Committee uses ANY type of quantitative analysis, it is clear that the PCLL should be a one-bid league in 2013.
The SELC sends four teams quite easily, with none of their four currently in danger of being knocked off the bubble. In fact, if SCAD had managed to win one more game, ANY one of the games they lost against strong opponents, it’s likely that computers and humans alike would have them much higher. Similar to the PNCLL situation, if SCAD makes a run and wins the SELC tourney, Sam Houston would be out and the SELC could send five teams to Greenville. Southern hospitality indeed!
Somewhat surprisingly to yours truly, the CCLA isn’t a stretch to send three teams dancing. I thought either Dayton or GVSU wouldn’t be looked upon kindly and be left out of the tourney for the first time in a while. But despite Dayton’s disappointing scheduling in terms of quantity, it doesn’t lack in quality and the computers don’t hate the Flyers, yet. GVSU scheduled better, and while they seemed to shock the entire D2 community with their first couple of games in Florida, it turns out they lost to good teams.
Finally, it’s important to note that in the methodology, Division 2 teams playing Division 1 teams does not give any boost outside of the computer ratings that factor that in. Human polls are supposed to keep those games excluded (though likely it is difficult to ignore). Something to chew on for future bracketologies, as I know the Laker fans will be pointing to their strong showing against a D1 Davenport squad as evidence their resurgence is merely a matter of time.
Let me know what you think, what you hate, and who I should’ve included in this first bracket for MCLA Division 2.
Read the Bracketology for Division 1 Week 1 here.
Update: It was brought to our attention by our friend Dave Franklin over at Inside Lacrosse, that the US Coast Guard is not able to fulfill a bid to the National Tournament. This is because of annual service academy scheduling that has commitments for all students at the academy that they cannot miss. If the USCG wins the PCLL tournament, an AQ bid would go to the runner-up so that the league can fulfill its AQ. For this edition, we will keep USCG in the 14 seed slot, but for all intensive purposes that seed would go to the non-USCG PCLL champion. We will address this in future editions, for now the USCG gets rewarded as a placeholder for their season work to date. Thanks again to Dave for the keen eye!