May 14, 2013 by Jesse Moskowitz in Livewire, Opinion with 11 comments
I just got a look at the DIII Nationals pools and here are my first thoughts. I haven’t really gotten a chance to go through step by step and create my own seeding chart, but here are my thoughts in a quick eye test.
Pool A: Puget Sound and Bentley were considered #1 and #2 all season (maybe top three if you include Kenyon). They’ll face off in what will be a great game. I (unpopularly) liked Lehigh to win the region but I don’t think they can play with the top two. They won a lot of close games against average competition at regionals. That said, what’s below them isn’t to be desired. I’m glad Rice gets to face off against Puget Sound after losing to them twice at Warmup. If Rice upsets Lehigh and grabs the 3 seed, there’s a chance they can see John Brown in a conferences rematch. A lot of redemption on the line for them.
Pool B: Harding is the favorite here but Amherst is going to be nipping at their toes. I would have liked to see Amherst seeded much higher. They had a strong season and took down the 1st and 6th ranked DIII teams. I’d lean toward dragging Bentley up with them over bringing Amherst down to Bentley. Brandeis is seeded about where they should be — weak regionals for a tough team. North Park should struggle in a good pool.
Pool C: I love this pool. Let’s take a second and imagine it in terms of say, the 2000’s NBA. Steven’s Tech is mechanical and dominant. They’re methodical in their offensive and defensive schemes and they lack flair. They put up and shut up. They’re Popovich’s Spurs. GOP is naturally the Lakers. They’re the most well-known DIII team around and they got their Kobe in Rhys Lindmark. Every free agent wouldn’t hate playing there and they recruit from all over (04 was the year they nabbed Gary Payton and Karl Malone and went into “all in” mode). Middlebury’s got to be Steve Nash’s eight seconds or less Suns. They’re fun to watch and they’ve wholly embraced the social media thing. They’re the perfect balance of not taking themselves too seriously and still putting up points. Georgia College, well, they’re my Knicks. My hapless, Stephon Marbury led Knicks. They’ll be good someday, don’t worry. Anyway, don’t be surprised if GOP takes down Stevens. I think they’ll be disciplined enough to handle some of what Steven’s will throw at them.
Pool D: First off, seeding Wesleyan below Georgia College is a travesty. How is this possible? How is it fair? Either way, I think 15th for Wesleyan is underseeded. They have a couple of playmakers that can definitely make the top three seeds in this pool sweat. I could see any of Wake, Claremont, or John Brown coming out on top of this pool. WOMB had a strong season but they’re seeded a bit high. They didn’t look dominant at regionals. If Milwaukee is windy, that zone will be tough on a Claremont team that struggled in the wind. John Brown’s a wild card here but I think they’re seeded pretty accurately. They’re a young team with a nothing-to-lose mentality so anything can happen.
I think the distinct top eight is Puget Sound through Bentley. Any of these teams can win this tournament. John Brown and Brandeis can pull upsets but I don’t think they have what it takes to be playing big games on Sunday. Lehigh and Rice are in a tough pool but shouldn’t be overlooked. Wesleyan is the best of the rest with North Park and Georgia College a bit behind.
Ultiworld will be releasing formal preview coverage later this week. Thoughts? Opinions?