As Expected: RIT, Salisbury Lead Way in MD3 Tourney
|A year after getting bounced in the national semifinals in 2013, Jim Berkman (above) and Salisbury are back to being the No. 1 seed in the South region. Are the Sea Gulls destined for a title clash with fellow top seed RIT? (Kevin P. Tucker)|
After posting an undefeated regular season in the wake of its runner-up finish in 2013, RIT was named the top seed in the North bracket while old friend Salisbury took top honors in the South. The Tigers and Gulls taking top honors is what was expected after both entered the last weekend as top dogs in their respective regional polls and took care of business in their conference tournament.
RIT will await the winner of the Ithaca-Montclair State conflict while Salisbury will entertain the victor in the York-Susquehanna match-up. The Gulls faced York in the finals of the CAC tourney this past Saturday.
Stevenson, the defending national champion, was tabbed as the second seed in the South, earning the right to host Otterbein in the first round. NESCAC champion Tufts filled the second chair in the North, and will host Emmanuel, which is coached by Brendan McWilliams, a former graduate assistant for the Jumbos.
As usual, the big question was which Pool B (independent) and Pool C (at-large) candidates would get the nod from the committee.
In the beta pool, Centre and Sewanee gave the SAA a pair of teams while Colorado College, Otterbein and Eastern also got bids. All five teams will be on the road in the first round, with Otterbein getting the unenviable task of tackling the defending champions.
After shining brightly on the NESCAC and the ODAC in the past two seasons, respectively, the Pool C spotlight was focused on the CAC this spring. Both York and Mary Washington earned their first-ever trips to the tournament as at-larges, following in the large shadow cast by Salisbury. Endicott became the first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference team to garner an at-large spot while Amherst and Union also waded into Pool C. Mary Washington was the only at-large pick to not get a first round home game, as the Eagles will travel to Cabrini.
The notable omissions from the non-AQ pools were Whittier and Wesleyan.
The Poets, hamstrung by being the only Division III team in the Pacific time zone, played four of their 11 NCAA games against tourney qualifiers, including a win over Eastern, but the loss to Colorado College in the D-III regular season final proved to be their undoing. Wesleyan came up short in the NESCAC semifinals against Amherst, leaving them out of the mix despite a very strong case for admission.
Due to the imbalance in the brackets, a natural South region team would have to be shoe-horned into the North, and Colorado College earned that honor this year. The Tigers will travel to Amherst in the first round after getting sent to Washington College last spring.
The NCAA Division III tournament will commence on Wednesday, May 7, with 14 first round games and conclude on Sunday, May 25, at 1 p.m. with the national championship game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Men's NCAA Division III Bracket
RIT (18-0) vs. Bye
Montclair (16-1) at Ithaca (14-4)
Colorado College (10-5) at Amherst (14-4)
New England College (14-3) at Union (13-3)
Keuka (14-0) at Cortland (15-3)
Western New England (10-7) at Springfield (14-3)
Keene State (10-6) at Endicott (14-4)
Emmanuel (15-3) at Tufts (16-2)
Otterbein (12-4) at Stevenson (17-2)
Mary Washington (14-3) at Cabrini (16-1)
Sewanee (12-4) at Lynchburg (16-4)
Eastern (14-4) at Washington College (15-1)
Aurora (15-3) at Adrian (13-3)
Centre (13-3) at Denison (17-0)
Susquehanna (11-7) at York (15-4)
Salisbury (18-1) vs. BYE
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