NCAA DIII Fields Announced
Need some voters for our inaugural Division III Local Hoops Poll Spectacular. Ok, not really, but the Locals had quite a haul in the men's and women's fields, which appear to have been announced in a rolling 24-hour fashion from yesterday till today. If anyone wants to run a DIII pool, I'll enter, for sure; men's, women's or both. Let's take a quick look at our Local participants, defining "Local" once again as "MD/VA/DC."
At least seven Locals made the 59-team field, all in the bracket on the bottom left, which I'm calling the "Bottom Left Bracket." Catholic, the home school of Antonella Barba (there ya go Unsilent), won back to back CAC titles by outlasting Hood; it was Catholic's seventh CAC title. The Cardinals, who have won 10 out of their last 11, will face Messiah in Round One.
Johns Hopkins won its second Centennial Conference championship to earn an automatic bid with a 23-4 record. The Blue Jays, who have already set a school record for wins, will host the first two rounds, including a first round meeting with cross-town rival Villa Julie, the NEAC champion. Villa Julie has Cilk McSweeney, who will be well near impossible for Hopkins to match on the name front.
But Cilk obviously can't compare with preseason all-American TonTon Balenga of Virginia Wesleyan, the defending national champs, who will face Averett in the first round. The Cougars (that's Averett), who won the USA South Conference tourney, are in their first NCAA tournament since 1990. They are also a Virginia school. Who knew? That means the second-round in that sub-regional thingee is guaranteed to be all local, since the rest of the bracket is filled out with ODAC champion Hampden-Sydney and at-large entrant Hood, whose Web site offers by far the most drama I've seen thus far:
At about 9:30 p.m. Sunday evening, Hood College president Ronald J. Volpe, head coach Tom Dickman and the Blazers gathered together and hovered around a pair of computers in the Whitaker Center on campus, anxiously awaiting their fate from the NCAA selection committee.
For the next 45 minutes, the team prognosticated with one another about their chances and some donned "rally caps" in hopes of seeing their name appear on the selection list. After constant refreshing of both the D3Hoops.com and ncaasports.com web pages, the Blazers finally got the good news at about 10:18 p.m. that they had been selected as one of 18 Pool C teams to participate in the 2007 NCAA Division III Tournament.
At least D3Hoops.com got a lot of clicks out of the deal. I'm jealous. None of the other 52 schools seem obviously Local to me; if I'm wrong, please let me know. Now on to the
I received the longest text message of my life on Thursday night from what I assume was a Marymount assistant, so they get to go first. The Saints apparently didn't make the field. Drat. But at least five Local teams did, and possibly more, depending on how many of you e-mail to tell me I've missed Local schools.
Mary Washington, the favored school of Local Poll voter Dave Richardson, storms into the tourney with a 26-2 record and a 22-game win streak. The Eagles will host the first two rounds, starting with Maryland's Notre Dame, which won the Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference and will appear in its first tourney. I swear, these tourneys are gonna bankrupt our travel budget. Anyhow, the Gators (naturally) shot 26.6 percent in the AWCC title game in front of 120. Both numbers strike me as a little on the low side. Christopher Newport, which won the USA South women's tourney, could face the Mary Washington-Notre Dame winner, if the Lady Captains (led by tourney MVP Dee Luck) can get by Dickinson. And in an amazing upset, the word "Luck" made its way into the game story's headline.
In some other bracket, the McDaniel Green Terror earned its first-ever at-large bid and a trip to Randolph-Macon for a first-round meeting with William Patterson. The Green Terror, incidentally, have a blog, which is good, but it hasn't been updated in nearly a year, which is bad. The first-round host of that thingee, Randolph-Macon, is living the redemptive life, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
For much of this season, Randolph-Macon's players have carried a huge chip on their shoulders. They were appalled that few people gave them a chance to win the Old Dominion Athletic Conference title.
The gritty Yellow Jackets are hoping they regained some respect yesterday after claiming their third consecutive conference tournament championship with a 76-65 victory over Virginia Wesleyan at the Salem Civic Center.
Seriously, it was appalling, and I'm glad that's been taken care of. Take that, all you Yellow Jacket skeptics. You feel bad now, don't you. You should have given that team a chance. Stupids.
Anyhow, with at least 12 Locals in these two tourneys, expect frequent, frequent, oh-so frequent updates in this space, provided I can convince one of our real college basketball reporters to provide updates.
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