|To our surprise, the Golden Eagles were selected for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Photo by Brockport athletics
Here's the 2018 NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament bracket as released by the NCAA this afternon.
In the bracket projection we posted last night we missed on three at-large picks.
We selected Hobart as the lone East region team to get an at-large bid but Brockport had jumped the Statesmen in the last set of regional rankings despite both teams losing the only game they played last week. We thought Amherst's head-to-head win over Springfield was enough to put the Mammoths in front of the Pride in the Northeast, but the committee saw it differently and Springfield got an at-large bid. Similarly we thought East Texas Baptist's head-to-head win over LeTourneau in the ASC tournament would give the Tigers the advantage, and LeTu stayed higher in the South and then got an at-large bid.
As Ryan Scott said on Hoopsville last night, the large number of Top 25 teams that needed at-large bids and the travel limitations that the commitee has in putting the bracket together guaranteed some really good matchups for the first weekend. How about UW-Oshkosh playing Marietta at Wittenberg? Or stalwarts Wooster and Illinois Wesleyan battling at John Carroll?
Some of our creative bracketing choices are included in the real thing. As noted above, Oshkosh did get sent to Wittenberg, though they'll play the Pioneers instead of Emory and Henry. Maryville goes to St. Louis for Wash U's pod.
Unfortunately we also are set up to have Whitman and Whitworth battle in the second round, provided they beat Schreiner and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first round respectively. The geographic isolation and budgetary constraints evidently didn't allow the additional first round flight that would've allowed Whitworth to get off the west coast.
The other headscratcher is on the other coast where Nichols got sent to Plattsburgh State for a true road game when that could've been New England College, which is playing a neutral court game against Swarthmore at Wesleyan. The Bison have a much better resume than the Pilgrims but got a tougher draw.
Nevertheless, there are some fun matchups for the first night. Greenville will bring Grinnell's system to Division III's biggest stage and try it out against Augustana. Yeshiva makes its NCAA Tournament debut at York (Pa.), and that game will be played at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon because of Yeshiva's prohibition on playing on the Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown).
More analysis from Monday's episode of Hoopsville: