|A strength of schedule south of 200 was a non-starter for the Otterbein Cardinals.
Otterbein athletics photo
The last of the automatic bids was handed out on Sunday afternoon and the NCAA committees spent much of their Sunday evening d made its deliberations as to who the two Pool B and 14 Pool C teams would be.
Meanwhile, our own mock NCAA committee was doing the same thing. We took all of the same data the NCAA looks at and went through the same process. Our group, made up of D3baseball.com writers, contributors and people with knowledge of the selection process, sat down on the phone to do the same thing.
That is, namely, the impossible: Construct the perfect bracket.
The results of the NCAA’s official selection committee discussions generally are released overnight, sometime between midnight and dawn. Here’s what we think they should do. What we think the committee will do, in some cases, is a completely different result.
In Pool B, we selected Emory and St. John Fisher
There was practically no discussion of this whatsoever. It was clear that Emory needed to be in the playoffs and despite a loss to Ithaca in the Empire Eight Championship, St. John Fisher did not slip enough for our crew to think that they lost their position in the race for the second Pool B bid.
Projected Pool C bids (14 bids)
The first team we put in on general consensus by our five-person panel. In the past we got deeper into the pool but the first team was obvious and the next two were just as easy. North Central , Oswego State, The College of New Jersey.
That left us with eleven teams to select and it never got easy as we progressed through the field. Top ranked Southern Maine seemed obvious from the start but they were not the fourth or the fifth selection. Problems with their strength of schedule as loss to UW-Whitewater and their record against regionally ranked opponents led a couple team to be added before we got past the top ranked team in the New England region. Ohio Wesleyan, UW-Whitewater, Southern Maine.
Once we were starting in the middle of the regionally ranked teams, we expected that the pace of our selection process would slow down but a perfect record against regional opponents saw Whitworth get off the board and Shenandoah soon followed as they were rewarded for their strength of schedule. Once Frostburg State was put on the board, it was a perfect selection and the last out of the South region.
Case Western Reserve remained on the table until the tenth of 14 at-large teams, but its No. 2 strength of schedule was hard to overlook, followed quickly by Wartburg and a UMass Boston team that got hot late and won rights to host postseason play in the Little East.
This left two teams on the board, Endicott, who advanced to the title game in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, was safe as an at-large. The Gulls posted a perfect 2-0 record against Southern Maine and ranked 53rd in strength of schedule.
It was in our last selection that we hit the wall. We recognized that Berry, who made our final southern team in the regional rankings, was not going to make it and despite Johns Hopkins 8th ranked SOS, their record in regional games was a non starter. Last year it was Wooster that blocked a number of quality teams but Johns Hopkins kept Kean and Rutgers-Camden from getting to the table.
The discussion slowly settled on the final two teams, one will get our spot in the projected playoff field and the other staying home. Would it be Texas Lutheran or Ithaca? Round and round we went. Similar strength of schedule and regional record, not to mention they did just as well against the team in the regional rankings. We could not make a decision with the primary selection criteria so we look at the secondary points of consideration. An Ithaca team they won 12 of their final 14 games outweighted a Texas Lutheran team that was tops in the beginning of the season. Ithaca was our final selection.
The rest of our time was spent seeding the teams and making sure that we had eight competitive regions. Flying UMass-Boston to Washington State seems like a stretch but Pacific Lutheran made the Seattle-Atlanta flight in 2015.
The committee will release the field while we (most of us, anyway) are asleep tonight.
Here's how we would seed this group, including the 40 automatic bids:
1. Southern Maine vs 8. Salve Regina
2. Wheaton (Mass.) vs 7. Eastern Connecticut State
3. Endicott vs 6. Suffolk
4. Tufts vs 5. Mitchell
1. Cortland vs 8. St. Joseph's (L.I.)
2. Oswego State vs 7. Union
3. Keystone vs 6. Castleton
4. St. John Fisher vs 5. TCNJ
1. Misericordia vs 8. Salem State
2. Ramapo vs 7. Widener
3. Salisbury vs 6. Susquehanna
4. Ithaca vs 5. Haverford
1. Emory vs 6. Thomas More
2. Birmingham-Southern vs 5. Huntingdon
3. Randolph-Macon vs 4. Frostburg State
1. Trinity (Texas) vs 6. Pacific Lutheran
2. Cal Lutheran vs 5. Texas-Tyler
3. Whitworth vs 4. UMass-Boston
1. North Central (Ill.) vs 6. Westminster (Mo.)
2. UW-Whitewater vs 5. Kalamazoo
3. Wartburg vs 4. Augustana
1. UW-La Crosse vs 6. Beloit
2. Concordia Chicago vs 5. Luther
3. Saint John's vs 4. St. Scholastica
1. La Roche vs 8. Penn State Berks
2. Marietta vs 7. Rose-Hulman
3. Ohio Wesleyan vs 6. Case Western Reserve
4. Shenandoah vs 5. Wooster
Would the committee reduce the number of flights? We chose to to keep the top regional teams in region instead of moving them out of their region. We have minimized the number of flight in the past but that is not a criteria and keeping the regional balance as the expense of an extra flight is the philosophy of the committee.