Now that the College Championships field is set, I think it’s worth taking a look at what we got wrong back in January.
- The glaring misses are Cal, Michigan, and Minnesota. At the beginning of the season, we went with a tiered system rather than straight rankings, and we had Cal as one of the give teams in Tier 1 and both Michigan and Minnesota as members of the ten-team Tier 2. Cal and Minnesota never really found their footing this year, so our only hope on those two was that they’d turn it around and heat up for the Series, which didn’t happen. Michigan had a pretty good year, but weren’t able to capture the Great Lakes’ single bid to Nationals.
- We also had Georgia Tech in Tier 2 and Georgia in Tier 3. Georgia Tech is another one that made sense on paper but just didn’t live up to expectations all year. I’m not quite sure that I’m ready to call Georgia a miss; though they finished without a win at Easterns, they came close to upsetting Florida and making Nationals out of the Southeast.
Otherwise, UNC-Wilmington is the only team in our initial Top 20 that won’t be in Boulder. Still, there are a few teams that weren’t on our radars that should have been.
- We thought Stanford might need another year to rebuild, but they flashed a little institutional know-how and got back to Nationals.
- Colorado College came out of nowhere. I’m sure they were less of a surprise for South Central teams and others who had seen them play, but we had no idea.
- Luther came up as a team that we might want to profile, but we didn’t get around to them and didn’t think it would be a miss. Wrong.
- Same with Whitman. I knew they were pretty good from watching them at DIII Nationals last year, but I didn’t think that they’d be able to compete with the best teams in the Division. Oops.
What else did we miss? Should Illinois have been ranked better than 15 at some point in the year, or did their performance merit their hovering between 15 and not ranked and did they really become a better team for the Series? Were Ohio and Ohio State good enough to be in the Top 20 back in February, or was our collective perception inflated? Other thoughts?
As we’ve said a million times, the entire point of starting Inside Breaks was to learn more about teams we didn’t have much info on. We were bound to be wrong about plenty, but learning “why” has been a whole lot of fun.