|LaGrange was on the table a long time in our mock bracket selection last night. So was New Jersey City. We chose one, but the real committee chose the other.
LaGrange athletics photo
They're dancing in LaGrange, Ga., while in Jersey City, N.J., they're hanging their heads. That's the result of the release of the 2016 Division III men's basketball NCAA Tournament bracket, announced this afternoon by the NCAA. (With the help of our own Dave McHugh.)
Dave and Pat Coleman successfully projected 18 of the 19 at-large bids on Sunday night in their mock selection, seen live on Hoopsville. The final spot came down to New Jersey City vs. LaGrange -- and a handful of others, to be sure -- and the committee chose the team with the higher strength of schedule rather than the team with the better wins vs. regionally ranked opponents.
The committee took the following at-large teams: St. Thomas, Marietta, Amherst, Plattsburgh State, Ohio Wesleyan, Susquehanna, Tufts, North Central (Ill.), Salisbury, Elmhurst, Wooster, Oswego State, WPI, Scranton, Trinity (Conn.), Hope, Whitman, NYU, LaGrange.
On Monday afternoon's Hoopsville show, men's basketball committee chair Brian Van Haaften said that LaGrange, Whitman, Scranton and NYU were the last four teams in the field. St. John's, Rochester and New Jersey City were the last three teams out.
The NCAA also gave the first-round byes to the same teams we gave them too, with Benedictine clearly earning one thanks to its unbeaten record and Whitworth getting the customary first-round bye thanks to its isolation on the west coast, as there are only two Division III conferences west of Nebraska. Benedictine awaits the winner of the Texas battle between Texas Lutheran and Hardin-Simmons.
St. Norbert is given an opportunity to host for the second consecutive season, and Northwestern (Minn.) will revisit the site of its first-round heroics that put the Eagles into the national conversation for a weekend. St. Thomas avoids both of them but gets Central coming to town for the first round and Elmhurst and UW-Oshkosh on the other side.
All five teams which prompted Pat and Dave to throw up their hands last night got in as well. NYU, Scranton, Whitman, Hope, Trinity (Conn.) all dancing!
Pat and Dave have Hoopsville on Monday afternoon and will talk with NCAA committee chair Bryan Van Haaften. We'll take your questions then but you can also ask them in the comments below.