February 25, 2013

Projected women's bracket

UT-Dallas may keep Illinois Wesleyan out of the tournament. Well, that and IWU's three losses to Wheaton.
American Southwest Conference photo 

Just as with the men's bracket, the women's Pool B bid goes to the the champion of the Southern Athletic Association. That's Rhodes, which led this first-year grouping of teams that is not yet eligible for an automatic qualifier. 

Our 20 at-large teams: Tufts; Lewis and Clark; Messiah; Rochester; Calvin; Washington U.; UW-Whitewater; Williams; Ferrum; Widener; Scranton; Moravian; Louisiana College; Smith; UW-Oshkosh; Maryville (Tenn.); William Paterson; Eastern Mennonite; Wheaton (Ill.); Concordia-Moorhead.

The seven teams left at the table when Concordia-Moorhead was selected: Mary Washington, Vassar, Otterbein, Swarthmore, Castleton, Howard Payne and Illinois Wesleyan. The final slot really came down to Illinois Wesleyan, Otterbein, Swarthmore and Concordia-Moorhead. Concordia and Otterbein had just one win against regionally ranked opponents, while IWU had two, as well as an out-of-region loss to a regionally ranked opponent, in the seconary criteria.

Mary Washington was 4-5 against ranked teams but was just 18-8 in-region overall, the worst team on the board in that respect. And Castleton had a strength of schedule below .500 and no results, wins or losses, against regionally ranked teams. IWU's winning percentage is just too low. And in the past, the committee has given no preferential treatment to a defending champion -- just ask UW-Stevens Point and Trinity (Texas) how they fared on the bubble the year after they won the title.

Download the bracket projection

We attempted to bracket in a way that satisfied both the committee's regional rankings and our national ranking. Even though the committee doesn't think DePauw is the best team in its region, let alone the country, we've separated it from Amherst. Also separated Hope from DePauw so that they could meet in the national semifinals. Tufts and Amherst could be a semifinal matchup as well.

In a couple of instances, lower seeds are hosting because of facilities issues. Hopefully we don't need to explain why Montclair State can't host in New Jersey, and Ithaca can't host because its gym is undergoing renovation.

Texas-Dallas' win popped someone's bubble, but it made bracketing easier, as four teams were within 500 miles of Louisiana College. And Emory was within 500 miles of several teams in the bracket, including Hanover and Rhodes, but Thomas More was the best combination of high seed and geography.

Check back by 2:30 p.m. ET for the live broadcast of the selection show!

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