We can add the following teams to the list of squads who have finished their seasons:
- Gustavus Adolphus
- St. Olaf
- Fitchburg State
Now let’s turn our attention to the 22 Division III teams that are still playing, and the four teams on the bench, hoping for an at-large bid (plus a tip of the hat to D-II St. Anselm and Stonehill, which are in the Northeast-10 finals).
Who’s in the Dance, and who needs to win their way in? Let’s start with a big assumption that will help narrow things down – a 6-4 East-West split. I’ll go into more detail on that with a fourth edition of Bracketlology, which you can find on this blog later tonight.
- In for sure – St. Norbert, Manhattanville. The Green Knights are a lock, and the Valiants will get Pool B even if they lose this weekend.
- Looking Good – Mass-Dartmouth. This is an interesting case. The NCAA rankings had the Corsairs third in the East two weeks ago, but moved them into first this past week. Mass-Dartmouth has the numbers, but I wonder how much the committee will penalize them for playing in the weaker ECAC Northeast over teams like Neumann and Oswego. Based on the top ranking this week, you’d have to think they’re in.
- Needs some help (East) – The NCAA Eastern Rankings list Oswego, Norwich and Neumann in that order, and only the Lakers can’t lose. Neumann can improve its chances with a win over Manhattanville in the ECAC West title game, while Oswego has to hope that Manhattanville and Mass-Dartmouth both win on Saturday. Norwich can of course claim the ECAC East autobid, and if not, need to also hope that Mass-Dartmouth beats Wentworth.
- Needs some help (West) – Nobody in the running is rooting for St. Scholastica, since a loss by St. Norbert takes one of the two (expected) at-large bids. The MIAC will get one team in, so that most likely means that two of three eliminated NCHA schools (UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, UW-Superior) will get in if St. Norbert wins the NCHA title.
- Needs to win their conference title – This applies to a lot of teams: Amherst, Colby, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Fredonia, Plattsburgh, Babson, Castleton, New England, St. Thomas, Bethel. In a sense, the NCAA tournament has already started for these teams, since they’re in single elimination mode.
- No chance – The MCHA champion doesn’t get an autobid, and all four teams are two far down in the rankings for an at large bid. So the season ends Sunday for Marian, MSOE, Lawrence and Finlandia.
Many questions remain – will it be a 6-4 split? How about 5-5? Check back later, and leave your comments.