Bracket Projection: NCAA Division III Men
The Division III regular season is in the books, and tonight at 10 p.m. we'll find out exactly who will fill out the 30 team bracket of teams racing for Memorial Day weekend. The field will be filled with 20 Pool A (automatic qualifiers) teams, five Pool B (independent) teams and five Pool C (at-large) teams.
Before the announcement rolls around, I'm going to take a stab at what the brackets will look like. In full disclosure, there is a lot of math involved in this process and, frankly, I'd rather talk to coaches and write stories than burn my afternoon crunching various criteria. As such, this is more a dead-reckoning bracket more than anything scientific (although it does involve input from outside sources).
From my vantage point, 28 of the 30 teams in the bracket are self-evident. The fifth Pool B (I went with Otterbein) and the fifth Pool C (Wesleyan) are the only I could see being somewhat up for grabs. The real trick with projecting brackets is getting the match-ups correct. The selection committee has a relatively firm set of criteria in which to select and seed the tourney, but geography – specifically the 500-mile barrier that mandates a flight – can jumble natural seeds.
The last hurdle in seeding the Division III tournament is balancing the North and South brackets. After I selected my teams I had 16 South region teams, so somebody had to get shipped northward. If the last Pool C goes to the South instead of the North (as I have it), that will further muddy the bracket.
With all of that in mind, this is what I've come up with.
Men's Division III Projected Bracket
RIT (Liberty) vs. BYE
New England College (NAC) at Union (Pool C)
Emmanuel (GNAC) at Tufts (NESCAC)
Keuka (NEAC) at Cortland (SUNYAC)
Mary Washington (Pool C) at Cabrini (CSAC)
Otterbein (Pool B) at York (Pool C)
Aurora (Midwest) at Denison (NCAC)
Susquehanna (Landmark) at Eastern (Pool B)