MJ: Lovic, MCLA Committee Ready to Roll
It would ramp up the drama to say that Ken Lovic holds the fate of the 200-plus MCLA teams in hands, but that's a bit much. It's more like 40 teams, if you want to include the seeding of the two tournaments in the discussion, but it's still going to be a pressure-packed 96 hours for Lovic, the chair of the association's two selection and seeding committees.
On Sunday night sometime before 10 p.m. EDT, Lovic is expected to unveil the participants for this year's Divisions I and II tournaments, as well a the seeded bracket, culminating a season that began in mid-January.
This is the third year a committee will do the heavy lifting (it used to be the final poll), and the number of teams who are actually in contention has diminished.
"Right now I feel like there are less than there were last year, personally," said Lovic on Tuesday. "At least working off of my list. On our call on Sunday night, there were a few teams that were eliminated with their performance the week before or whether they made their conference tournament. Or even a team like Clemson, which had a good season, but didn't have the three out of conference games."
One might think that narrowing the list would make the selection process easier, but it has a way of making it more difficult because of the small gap between those programs in contention.
"If there are upsets in conference tournaments, it almost makes it easier on us," said Lovic. "If one of the teams we have to worry about wins [the automatic qualifier], it just eliminates an at-large spot. We don't have worry about tie-breakers or anything like that."
The members of the respective committees -- five for D-I and 10 for D-II -- have been participating in conference calls on Sunday's for nearly a month now (there was just an email exchange on Easter) that has slowly pared down the teams in the hunt. The possibility of an underdog jumping up to win an AQ means that teams can still technically come and go form "the list," but for the most part, the committees have a handle on what teams are in contention.
"Obviously, there are a lot more conference tournament games this weekend, which will give us more information to process," said Lovic.
Best & Worst
Best thing about today: I'll be starting the process of putting together my final mock brackets for release this weekend for MD2, MD3 and both MCLAs. As an added bonus, it looks like I'll have to dust off my contact book for women's coaches as I'll be taking a crack at the WD2 and WD3 fields, as well. A lot of work, but this is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Worst thing about today: When I woke up this morning at 6 a.m., it was 29 degrees on the back deck. Twenty-nine degrees on May 4? Ridiculous.