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The easy number one. Dominated DIII Warm Up, and with a great coach, they’re only going up. Also, in all the games they have lost this season, they have been without Spencer Sheridan (collar-bone injury), their best all around player, and Skyd’s DIII Warm Up MVP.
I’m a big believer in the USAU rankings which put Bentley as the best DIII team in the country. What’s more, Bentley has helped themselves after a strong performance at New England Open, with two wins over Yale, one over Vermont, and a marquee victory over SUNY-Buffalo. Led by Alex Foo and a strong class of Juniors who all played in quarters of 2012 DIII Championships, Bentley should make a run deep into bracket play this year.
Kenyon college has posted another strong regular season performance, this time with a chip on their shoulder after last year’s disappointing nationals performance. They beat a strong Clemson team twice at Easterns Qualifier, and played close games against SUNY-Buffalo and Virginia, two strong DI programs. However, this is a team based around Jordan Rhyne, and teams who lean on one or two players tend to not fare as well in the wind. We won’t know for sure until we get to Milwaukee.
When they’re good, they’re very good. They absolutely blew through competition at Hendrix Ultimate Experience, beating strong Oklahoma and Oklahoma State teams. A windy Huck Finn didn’t go as well for them, but even there they played close games against Illinois and Iowa. This is also a team I expect to be strong in the wind, which may play a large role at DIII Championships.
A universe point win against a well coached Georgetown team and a universe point loss against a very strong Carnegie Mellon team shows that Wake has what it takes to make a run into quarters or semis at nationals. The biggest question for this team is play in the wind, which they haven’t had to play in yet this season. If they can improve their wind play from last year’s championships, this is a very strong team.
They’ve lost in the finals of two tournaments. What’s more their callahan nominee and Rochester Dragons’ player, Greg Wakeman, wasn’t even playing in Uprising (their first tournament). With the return of their stars, this Metro East team could do some big things.
Xavier has been a dark horse team this season. While St John’s was experimenting with lines at Huck Finn, Xavier did beat them 5-0, and a shutout is a shutout. Wins against Tennessee and Eastern Michigan, as well as a close loss to Iowa state, show that Xavier can play solid games against DI competition.
GoP played very well at Warm Up, but with Free State cancelled, and not the strongest Southerns performance, they are only eighth in our top 10. On the other hand, they are two time DIII champions, and they might have the best wind play of all the teams on this list. They also tend to peak at the right time. We’ll see how they fare in what is likely to be an extremely tough one bid North Central region.
As stated, St. John’s was mixing up their lines at Huck Finn, and the conditions were pretty poor. They picked it up at Chicago Invite, but they still haven’t shown they can beat good teams on Sunday. If they beat GoP in a one bid North Central region, it will be on the back of their athleticism.
Stevens has had a great season so far, but they haven’t really challenged themselves. The only top 100 team they have played is Columbia, and they lost 8-15. Stevens will be a wild card until we can see them play the top DIII Metro East competition during the series.
After a fantastic performance at DIII Warm Up, Claremont struggled in the wind on Sunday of Trouble in Vegas. They will need to improve their fundamentals to have a strong run at championships
Rice has been skirting right outside the top 10 all season. Led by Michael Drewry, this team played well at DIII Warm Up. However, given their lack of results since then I can’t justify a top 10 placement. Yet again, the South Central is looking to be a tough one bid region. I’d bet on another Harding-Rice game-to-go, but past that, it’s a toss up.
Geneseo barely beat a short-manned SUNY-Fredonia in the finals of Uprising, and hasn’t posted any wins against top opponents since that time. However, given that Geneseo is in a bid-heavy Metro East region and they have their own Rochester Dragons’ player, Dave Abott, I see them making the trip to Milwaukee.
After their own solid performance at DIII Warm Up, Pacific Lutheran has posted quite a few wins, but none against top competition. The Northwest is right on the edge of a second bid, but if it doesn’t come, I don’t see Pacific Lutheran upsetting Puget Sound to make the trip to Milwaukee.
Alright, that’s all for now I plan to post one of these after regionals play, as well as my suggested seedings for nationals. In the meantime I hope to bring regionals previews for all ten regions. Stay tuned!