/playoffs/2012/week9-playoff-projection

Week 9 playoff projection

As one of four 'island' teams in our projected bracket, Cal Lutheran is almost certain to be headed to play one of the others.
Photo by Joe Bergman, d3photography.com 

By Pat Coleman
D3sports.com

Repeat after me: The season does not end today. But unfortunately, doing a projected bracket before the end of the season requires us to presume just that.

It's been a while since I attempted to do a projected bracket with two games still to play, and there are some challenges in that process. First of all is that only Cortland State and UW-Oshkosh have clinched automatic bids. Second is that there is a significant clump at the top of the MIAC that will change on Saturday afternoon. At the moment, all three MIAC one-loss-or-fewer teams have strong playoff resumes and all make our bracket, but one team will lose on Saturday.

For some of the toss-up leagues, it doesn't matter who wins in terms of our projection. That's because the runner-up is not a threat to make the playoffs and the two (or three) competitors would all have similar potential seeds.

Keep in mind that the NCAA does not want to spring for more plane flights than it has to in the first round. With four teams that must fly anywhere they go, that's a minimum of two flights. That's what I've projected. Any distance of more than 500 miles requires the NCAA to pay for a flight. Everything else can be done by bus.

Here's how it looks.

First of all, I took a good look at the Wally Wabash projections on D3boards.com and I found nothing to quibble with in his projection of the at-large teams. Wesley is perhaps the easiest Pool B selection we've ever had and in Pool C, he projects Wabash, Bethel, Concordia-Moorhead, Huntingdon, Elmhurst, Rowan and Heidelberg.

I take those eight teams and the 24 automatic bids and break them into the best four groups of eight possible to create our brackets. With a potential of four teams in Minnesota, and one of those on the North Dakota border, the travel in the westernmost group is really difficult. That, and keeping the three MIAC teams from matching up in the first round made our Linfield bracket tricky.

Last year, remember, the NCAA threw us a wrinkle in the bracket, with shuffled pairings in the national quarterfinals. This bracket doesn't address that but as we get closer to Selection Sunday, I'll take a look at some of the more interesting possibilities.

Mount Union bracket

No. 8 USA South champ at No. 1 Mount Union
No. 5 Salisbury at No. 4 Rowan

No. 7 Mount Ida at No. 2 Hobart
No. 6 ODAC champ at No. 3 Widener

Mount Ida probably should be traveling to Mount Union but the distance is more than 500 miles. This way Hobart gets a team that really could be an eighth-seed even though it doesn't get a top seed in our projected bracket.

 

UW-Oshkosh bracket

No. 8 Lake Forest at No. 1 UW-Oshkosh
No. 5 Heidelberg at No. 4 Wabash

No. 7 Adrian at No. 2 Concordia-Chicago
No. 6 Franklin at No. 3 North Central (Ill.)

In all honesty, Lake Forest has better numbers than Adrian, but Lake Forest and Concordia-Chicago played earlier this season and while it was not a conference game, it's easy enough to shuffle those pairings and avoid that rematch. (The NCAA does not actively avoid non-conference rematches in the first round, however.) Adrian still has two tough games left and could end up deserving that eight seed even more, and perhaps could play its way into a trip to Mount Union instead.

Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket

No. 8 Huntingdon at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor
No. 7 NEFC champ at No. 2 Wesley

No. 6 Wittenberg at No. 3 Johns Hopkins
No. 5 Waynesburg at No. 4 Cortland State

Again, seven and eight could be switched on the criteria, but this time it's travel distance that forces this shuffling. All three potential NEFC champions can make it to Wesley in under 500 miles.

Linfield bracket after NCAA budgeting process

No. 5 Cal Lutheran at No. 1 Linfield
No. 6 Coe at No. 4 Concordia-Moorhead

No. 8 UMAC champ at No. 2 St. Thomas
No. 7 Elmhurst at No. 3 Bethel

Back when the NCAA used to put seedings on the bracket, it used to be common to see shuffled numbers such as these. Those who are new to Division III may not have seen these before but they exist. If I had one extra flight to give, I'd go this way:

Linfield bracket the way it should be

No. 8 UMAC champ at No. 1 Linfield
No. 5 Cal Lutheran at No. 4 Concordia-Moorhead 

No. 7 Elmhurst at No. 2 St. Thomas
No. 6 Coe at No. 3 Bethel

This configuration requires three flights in the first round: UMAC champ to Linfield, Cal Lutheran to Concordia-Moorhead and Huntingdon to Mary Hardin-Baylor. And because of distance, it requires two charter flights, which the NCAA really tries to avoid.

Many teams are mobile in this bracket. Cortland and Widener could swap brackets fairly easily without causing too many travel issues, as could Widener and Johns Hopkins or Rowan. That's among teams hosting in the first round. Among the teams traveling in the first round, Elmhurst and Lake Forest could trade brackets, as could Wittenberg and Heidelberg. 

This is a start. But we have more games to play, so expect changes when we do this again next week.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Massachusetts Maritime at Framingham State
Video Preview Live stats
12:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Juniata
Live stats
12:00 PM
Becker at Dean
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Salisbury at TCNJ
Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
MIT at Catholic
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Maine Maritime
Video Preview
12:00 PM
Endicott at Hobart
Video Video Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Nichols at Morrisville State
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Widener at Albright
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Montclair State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Bethany at Westminster (Pa.)
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bowdoin
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Williams at Colby
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Amherst at Hamilton
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Ursinus at Moravian
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Trinity (Conn.) at Bates
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Brevard at LaGrange
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Geneva at Thiel
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Plymouth State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Southern Virginia
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Curry
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Lycoming at King's
Video Live stats Audio Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Husson at Western New England
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wooster at DePauw
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Allegheny at Ohio Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Misericordia
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Lebanon Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at N.C. Wesleyan
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Ferrum
Video Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Gettysburg at McDaniel
Video Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Buffalo State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Susquehanna
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Denison
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Northwestern (Minn.)
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Crown at Eureka
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Northern
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Defiance at Rose-Hulman
Video Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Marietta
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Franklin at Bluffton
Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
Anderson at Hanover
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Manchester
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Worcester State at Westfield State
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Coast Guard at Norwich
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Fitchburg State
Live stats
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
Video Preview Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
Video Video Live stats Tickets
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Greenville at Martin Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Chapman at Trinity (Texas)
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
Video Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Washington U. at Wartburg
Video Live stats Preview
2:00 PM
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Carleton
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Central
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Simpson at Coe
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Grinnell
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Ripon at Knox
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at MacMurray
Video
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Macalester
Video Live stats
2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
2:30 PM
WPI at Springfield
Video Live stats
3:00 PM
Beloit at Cornell
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Hartwick
Audio
4:00 PM
Carroll at UW-La Crosse
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at St. Scholastica
Video Live stats
4:30 PM
UW-Eau Claire at George Fox
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio
5:00 PM
Salve Regina at Western Connecticut
Video Live stats
5:00 PM
Adrian at UW-Stevens Point
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Tufts at Wesleyan
Video Preview Live stats
6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
Video Live stats Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
Video Video
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
Box Score Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
Video Preview Live stats
7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
Audio
7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
Video Preview Live stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Arizona Christian at Whittier
Video Live stats
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
Video Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio Audio
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
Video Preview Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
Video Video Live stats Tickets
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio