Women's NCAA bracket released!

Bethel's men didn't even get to the table for discussion, but their women got into the field, perhaps as the last team selected.
Photo by Caleb Williams, d3photography.com 

Penn State-Abington, welcome to the NCAA Tournament. Meet George Fox. They're in Oregon. And for Pine Manor, which played in what was essentially a five-team conference and only has played 22 games overall, your trip is a little shorter, but you have a top seed awaiting you as well.

That's some of the interesting things in this NCAA Tournament bracket, where there were fewer upsets and the committee focused perhaps a little more on winning percentage ... in Division III games ... and less on strength of schedule.

We agreed on 18 of the 20 at-large bids. The committee put McDaniel and Bethel in the field, where we would have chosen Whitworth and the University of Chicago. Both Whitworth and Chicago had high strength of schedule numbers, but what likely cost Whitworth was the fact that it played six games vs. non-Division III schools and came to the table with only a 15-5 record vs. D-III opponents. Bethel had a much lower SOS but was 21-5 vs. Division III schools. Chicago's resume had them at just 17-7 vs. D-III (18-7 overall) but a stellar SOS, over .600.

That was good enough for us, but the committee chose McDaniel, who was 24-3 but with an SOS of below .500.

Here was our projected bracket, for comparison's sake.

One would think that it would have helped Whitworth to find more than three Division III non-conference opponents. And Dave Martin, the women's committee national chair, said that might have made a difference, but "there's not a magic number" of Division III opponents a team has to play.

Texas-Dallas won the ASC title and took over the right to host the tournament pod from Tyler. UTD has given UTT its only two losses of the season, in three meetings. 

Defending champion FDU-Florham isn't a top seed in its bracket or even in its eight-team group, but opens with Johnson and Wales, and could end up in a very strong sectional if the host teams advance.

More women's tournament analysis to come.