Sunday, March 7, 2010

Prediction for Central Region rankings

The NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament brackets won't be announced until sometime after 8 p.m. today, but I was right on with the Northern Sun individual awards earlier this week so I thought I'd take a stab at the Central Region rankings.
Keep in mind that I have only a slim idea what the regional committee takes into account when deciding which eight teams from the Northern Sun and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference will advance to the national tournament. This is based on polls leading up to today and a gut feeling about how this has operated in the past.
1. Minnesota State. The Mavericks don't seem so deserving, having lost three of the last five games and the last two home games, but you can't throw away the entire body of work. Minnesota State is 24-4, with three losses coming to Augustana and St. Cloud State, other top teams in this region.
2. Mesa State. It seems the committee has preferred to have both conferences represented in the top two. Again, Mesa State has struggled to finish the season, but the Mavericks have been the best team in the RMAC, and we'll see what that means next weekend.
3. St. Cloud State. It seems the Huskies got screwed by the committe last week, showing up in fourth, and despite advancing to the championship game of the Northern Sun tournament, which began at 2 p.m., it's unlikely the Huskies will jump all the way to No. 1. And No. 2 probably goes to an RMAC team.
4. Augustana. The Vikings had a legitimate chance of overtaking Minnesota State, having swept the Mavericks, but they lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, too.
5. Metro State. Metro holds the spot after defeating Highlands in the RMAC tournament.

6. New Mexico Highlands. The most dangerous team in the RMAC, and senior forward Chop Tang is returning to Mankato.
7. Winona State. It's been an up and down season for the Warriors, who needed the victory over Mary in the Northern Sun tournament to guarantee this spot.
8. Southwest Minnesota State with a victory in the Northern Sun championship. Otherwise, Colorado School of Mines or Fort Lewis grabs this spot by default.

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