April 26, 2015 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 0 comments
Here’s a quick recap of the D-I Regionals action from around the country on Saturday.
On the men’s side, three of the four top-seeded teams held their position today. UNC Wilmington weathered some poor offensive execution and won all their games with stifling defense, including a 13-10 thrill ride over fellow one-seed Maryland who benefitted from a monster performance from Mark Lin.
North Carolina, perhaps the benefactors of an easier schedule, looked the team to beat on Saturday. Ben Snell’s timely return to form was just the sort of release valve needed Carolina needed for Jon Nethercutt to relax a bit and pick his spots and Darkside went largely untouched by the competition, even in their crossover with Virginia. Night Train had quite a day themselves, handing NC State the first of two losses that would end the Wolfpack’s season, as well as push them to the top of Pool D.
Notably, William & Mary was the second team to run four points straight to end a game against Georgetown, which landed Darkhorse in tomorrow’s bracket and Catholic Justice on the outside looking in. VCU and South Carolina round out the bracket tomorrow. The Villains dealt NC State the season-ending blow, and South Carolina knocked out a persistent Deleware.
With three bids in the balance, Wilmington and UNC control their destinies and are the favorites, both rosters going considerably deeper than any other bench on the men’s side. Maryland also has a favorable matchup with a young VCU to start the day, but the Villains have an athletically talented core that will be ready and willing to take on Mark Lin and force the Space Bastards to look elsewhere. The third bid still seems like it could be up in the air.
That’s what Virginia Hydra was when today’s rounds came to a close. The only team to go 5-0, UVA blasted away all competitors, racking up a +46 point differential and allowing no opponent to score more than 4 points. Clemson finished second in the pool, but even they could only muster two points against UVA.
North Carolina, James Madison, and Maryland all finished the day 4-1 in Pool B, with UNC getting the nod in the tiebreaker. Games were demonstrably closer in this pool, with Deleware losing by only two points in each of their reported losses. UNC Wilmington also offered a lot of fight, but couldn’t muster better than 2-3 on the day.
In spite of the fierce competition in unsavory conditions, speculating that any team other than Hydra would walk away with the region’s single bid seems foolish.
A stunning loss to Michigan State sets up a tough start to the day for #2 seed Northwestern, who will face #1 seed Michigan in the quarterfinals. Other than that wild result, most of the other top seeds advanced to quarters. Michigan’s B team, the #14th seed, upset Purdue in prequarters to make the bracket as well. Illinois and Notre Dame went undefeated in pool play, and Eastern Michigan and Indiana round out the bracket.
All eight teams make the quarters in the Great Lakes, but it was Notre Dame and Michigan that looked like the class of day one. Notre Dame didn’t allow more than four points to be scored against them. Michigan, the three seed in Pool B, had just one close game: 11-9 over #2 seed Illinois. A Notre Dame/Michigan final looks likely.
Wisconsin made it look easy en route to a 4-0 day and a berth in the finals in a largely uneventful pool A (although Wisconsin-Milwaukee played well and took the second spot in the pool on point differential over Iowa — both teams advance to the 2nd place bracket).
Pool B was another story. Big favorite Carleton had a tough day, opening things up with a big scare against Luther, who blew a four point lead in the second half. Carleton would not remain unscathed, as pool winner Minnesota put the hurt on them, 13-4, in one of the widest blowout losses in recent history for Carleton.
Note that Luther c0uld have easily won the pool. They lost that big lead against Carleton, and later lost a big lead against Minnesota. Those two were their only two losses. They will be a threat on Sunday.
Minnesota faces Wisconsin in the final, as Carleton, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Luther, and Iowa battle for a spot in the second place game to face the loser of the final for the second bid to Nationals.
Wisconsin edged out top seeded Iowa State 9-8 to take the top spot in Pool A and secure the best seed in bracket play. Carleton was untouched in Pool B and cruised easily to a 3-0 day. All eight teams make the bracket, but only those three teams really look capable of taking the lone bid.
All four top seeds — Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Penn State, and Ohio — won their pools, but Pitt and Cincinnati were clearly the cream of the crop on Saturday. Pitt beat Ohio 15-3 in the semifinal and Cincinnati beat Penn State — a team many picked to upset Cincinnati and steal away the second bid — 14-6.
DIII convert Lehigh is already out of the mix for a Nationals berth after a bracket play loss to Pennsylvania. Case Western Reserve, Ohio State, and Carnegie Mellon are all still in the hunt. Those four teams will face off for a chance to meet Penn State and Ohio in the “quarterfinals” of the second place bracket.
Like on the Men’s side, the top four seeds held their order and faced off in the semifinals. No surprise that Ohio State and Pittsburgh advanced to the finals.
Case Western Reserve will face West Virginia and Pennsylvania will face Penn State in the second place bracket for an eventual shot at the loser of the highly anticipated final.
Lots of chalk in the South Central. Every Championship bracket game went to seed, leaving us with a Colorado v. Texas A&M final.
Texas and Colorado College, the losers in the two semifinals, both won their next game in the second place bracket. They will face off for a shot at the loser of the final.
WashU and Colorado State play in the third place bracket. The winner of that game will face the loser of Texas/CC. The winner of that game will face the loser of the 2nd place game for the final spot at Nationals.
It will be #1 Colorado v. #4 Texas and #2 Colorado College v. #3 Kansas in the semis today. So everything went to seed then? Nope.
Kansas upset Colorado 12-10 in the first round of the day and Texas beat Colorado College 13-12. But the double upset means that the semifinals remain the same as they would have been with everything going chalk.
Florida State and Central Florida have locked up some of the country’s first Nationals berths after winning their semifinals over Florida and Tulane, respectively. FSU and UCF will face off in the final, but neither can finish lower than third place.
Perhaps the biggest story of the day was Tulane‘s huge upset over Georgia. Tulane was down 7-2 (!) in a game to 15 and proceeded to take half 8-7. They went on to win 11-8, finishing the game on an 8-1 run.
Auburn, Kennesaw State, Tennessee, and Georgia are still alive in the 2/3 bracket. The winners of those matchups will face Florida and Tulane in the 2/3 semis. The team that wins out between those six will get a berth to Nationals and will play for seeding in the second place game.
Georgia Tech, Tennessee-Chattanooga, LSU, and Alabama are all still alive in the fourth place bracket.
It was a dominant day for top seeds Florida State and Central Florida, who went 4-0 and look like locks to advance to finals with ease. The last round of pool play is this morning. Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Auburn all went 3-1, putting themselves in good positions to advance to the second place bracket. The remaining spot in that bracket is still up for grabs, though Alabama is in the best position sitting at 2-2.