April 3, 2015 by Jesse Moskowitz in Livewire, News with 30 comments
As expected, there was a bit of change on the men’s DIII front when the final bid allocations were released yesterday by USA Ultimate. Messiah and St. John’s were reinstated while Kalamazoo was removed from the rankings. There was not as much movement as initially expected, though a bid was transferred from New England to the North Central. Here’s some of my reactions on how the bid allocations played out.
Overall, it’s not too bad. The Northwest, Southwest, Great Lakes, South East, and Metro East all deserve one bid. Fredonia can make an argument for the Metro East while the combination of Indiana Wesleyan and North Park can vouch for a second bid out of the Great Lakes, but at their core, these are one-bid regions.
I think that New England deserves all four of the bids that it earned. Amherst and Brandeis did their thing all season and Middlebury certainly played well enough to warrant a strength bid at Easterns. Bowdoin, though probably ranked a bit high at 8th in country, did work at Garden State and took down some decent teams. Brandeis probably helped boost Stoned Clown by losing to Westchester and Johns Hopkins – two teams that Bowdoin would beat in New Jersey.
Bates or WPI did not deserve a fifth bid for the region. However, New England regionals will be one of the deepest in the country. On top of the six teams already mentioned, DI-convert Williams and reigning National Champion Bentley will be fighting for those spots as well. That’s 8 teams deep of rosters that can compete with nearly anyone in the country.
I’m very glad Richmond held onto their bid. The Spidermonkeys are a very good team. I would not be surprised at all if they took down Elon at Regionals. If the Atlantic Coast ended with just one bid and the South Central grabbed a third, I’d be beside myself.
Air Force is currently ranked 11th in the DIII country, earning a strength bid for the South Central. However, looking at their results you wouldn’t think that this is one of the nation’s top teams.
Afterburn finished 7th at Colluvium back in January, going 5-2 with three wins over B teams and two close losses. Their 12-14 loss to Lewis & Clark is likely their best game of the season.
At New Year Fest College Division 2015, a four-team round robin featuring two B teams and Northern Arizona, Air Force finished 5-0 with four wins over B teams.
At Trouble in Vegas, the team finished 4-2, with a DGP loss to Occidental (#137) and a blowout loss to Chico State (#39). Their wins came against Westmont (#194), Cal Tech (#212), Utah State (#126), and another B team.
Eight of Air Force’s fourteen wins this season (57%) came against B teams. Their highest ranked win was 10 weeks ago to a Portland State team that went 2-5 at the tournament. And yet somehow this is a borderline top-10 team in the country?
I’m not here to put blame on Air Force. They did their thing, traveled for tournaments, and played their hardest. I very highly doubt that they had any intention of gaming the system.
However, the lack of connectivity and the copious wins over B teams find Afterburn as the 11th best team in the country, good for 80th in the country. For some context, this is higher than Virginia Tech and Michigan State. I wouldn’t be shocked if John Brown or Missouri S&T sniped the bid away from Afterburn at regionals.
There’s a lot of work to be done to get the DIII bid allocation system right. There are so many subtleties that make it a different beast than its DI counterpart. The bid allocation for 2015 wound up ballpark accurate, but the lack of direct connectivity between the various DIII teams is going to make for issues every year.