D III Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

My 2011 projected field of 64

Here are the teams that I think should be announced on the NCAA selection show on Monday morning at about 10 a.m. central. The link to the selection show should appear at the NCAA D-III volleyball page. This link is another option.

A bit of background – I was 19-of-21 on my at-large projections last season, 19-of-22 in 2009 and 20-of-23 in 2008. So, if your team isn’t listed below, there’s still plenty of hope. Plenty. But I’ll get them all one of these years.

I spend a lot of time on this every year, but it is what it is – an exercise of five parts science and one part art. Like always, it was difficult toward the end, and a few teams will have legitimate gripes – over my very, very unofficial picks, and/or, more importantly, over the NCAA’s tomorrow morning. I think it’s obvious what teams on the list below are close to being on the other side.

Assuming these teams submitted bids, here are my projected host schools: Carthage, St. Thomas, Calvin, Eastern, Cortland, Randolph-Macon, Springfield, Cal Lutheran.

Christopher Newport could host the South instead of R-MC. In fact, CNU is probably the favorite to land the gig, but I like the head-to-head win and a change of scenery. Occidental could step in for Cal Lutheran in the West. My projections would require six flights (five in the West and Emory).

EDIT: Actual hosts are Washington-St. Louis, Concordia-Moorhead, Cal Lutheran, Calvin, Christopher Newport, Clarkson, Springfield and Eastern (at Neumann).

As a reminder, here are the 42 Pool A teams.

POOL B (2)

POOL C (20)
Cal Lutheran
Case Western Reserve (Bethel)
Mount Union
Puget Sound (Pacific Lutheran)
Saint Benedict
St. Thomas
Washington and Lee (Stevenson)
Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Wisconsin-Stevens Point

On the table when my last bid was awarded: Bethel, McMurry, Millikin, New York, Pacific Lutheran, Stevenson, Wellesley.

Agree or disagree? Please leave a comment. I’d like to read your opinions. However, I will be away from the site until about 9:30 p.m. central. I’ll get back to you then.

For a refresher, you can see the FAQ for more details about the selection process.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

November 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

21 Responses

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  1. No bids for the Mid-Atlantic Region…why is this? This region has some very quality teams (Eastern, Juniata, Salisbury)…so why are the secondary teams looked upon so weakly? I had particular interest in DeSales who would be second on the board from that region in the Pool C conversation and has a very strong SOS and 27 wins.


    November 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

  2. What about Wartburg who is much better than the SCIAC schools listed or Coe that went 31-4? Case Western does not deserve a seat at the table. Your list seems very UAA biased. By the way Go Rams!!! Cornell may be young but they are dangerous. They avenged prior loses to Coe and Wartburg. St Thomas and Elmhurst better be ready.


    November 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm

  3. I believe that PLU should get the nod over UPS since PLU is 3 games ahead of UPS in conference. UPS lost to weaker conference schools and is 7-6 the last 13 games,while PLU is 12-1. Why do we play conference games if they account for nothing? PLU beat 2 teams in the tournament(whit worth 2 times and Gallaudet)while UPS beat 1 team(whit worth, one time). People around the NWC would be shaking their heads if UPS got in over PLU. Conference play is a better indication of the strengths of teams because they are playing common opponents.


    November 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm

  4. Anonymous, I think you are right about the mid-atlantic. I’d put Stevenson in an bump Middlebury from New England.

    The other anonymous, I think UPS is getting a nod because the coaches in that region have them higher than Pac Lu in the regional ranking. Puget Sound is 4, Chapman 5 and Pac Lu 6. I’m not sure why they did that, but that’s what the coaches in that region are saying


    November 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm

  5. Puget sound lost on Friday to a losing team, so hopefully when the new regional rankings come out, they will not be ahead of Pac Lu!


    November 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm

  6. Good discussion. I’ll do my best to respond. Thanks for keeping it civil. As much as I’d like to think I have it right, the odds are slim that the national committee and I will agree. If you’ve followed along this year, the MW and C regional committees and I took three weeks to come to a workable agreement. To be clear, I had nothing to do with the agreement. But I’m glad that we now agree. For the most part. Now I can at least understand where, why and how the committees and I disagree.

    (5:30) The Mid-Atlantic didn’t get a bid last year, so there’s precedence. I thought Salisbury would get a bid last season. This year Stevenson has a gaudy record and a few wins over ranked opponents, but a .513 strength of schedule wasn’t enough in my opinion. I think Stevenson is still ahead of DeSales and Messiah in the Mid-Atlantic order.

    (5:53) I’ve been harping on Wartburg’s exclusion for a while now. And it’s the numbers that have a UAA bias. The UAA, as long as it remains one of the best volleyball conferences, will continue to have a built-in advantage. The UAA received three Pool C bids last year. My opinion is that the numbers warrant three again this season. Case has a .600+ SOS and has played, by my count, 13 regionally ranked teams. Yes, Case has 10 losses. But those losses are to Hope, Mount, Otterbein, Hiram, Chicago 2x, Emory 2x, Heidelberg and WashU. Where are the wins? Good question. You have a point. I’m not even sold on NYU being the New York Region team left on the table at the end. There’s a decent chance that Rochester rose from No. 8. Yes, another UAA team.

    It didn’t take long for someone to figure out what team I selected last. No matter if it’s my call for Case or whatever team the NCAA picks last, there’s going to be controversy. And the handful of teams that are eventually just on the outside will have a pretty good argument.

    I’ve been late to the Cornell bandwagon, but I get it now. I’ve seen the Rams four or five times this season. Good luck!

    (6:11) Conference standings are not a part of the selection process. I mean of course they are to a certain extent, but not in and of themselves. There are some examples like in the LEC, where Boston earned the second seed yet headed into the tourney as the No. 2 team in all of New England. The No. 1 LEC seed, Plymouth, wasn’t regionally ranked. It’s not apples and apples, but I think the example illustrates the importance of conference standings.

    What matters are the details beyond the standings of the conference season and the results and the strength of the nonconference schedule. It may be counter-intuitive, but conference standings are, by rule/criteria, not a good indicator at selection time.

    (7:22) That could be the case. My hunch is that it won’t. One major thing against PLU is its sub .500 strength of schedule. I cannot remember an at-large going to a team with an SOS that low.



    November 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm

  7. With 8 A’s in NE, 5 A’s plus the 2 B’s in NY, that’s 15 teams. If they ship Southern Vermont to NY (which I’ve heard a few times) they can get Tufts into the New England Region but Middlebury too? That requires sending Stockton South or Naz west. Naz going south would have them drive past Cortland, which was a no-no (I think it still is).

    I think Geneva and Altoona can go to Ohio/Michigan, and if they put a bracket in Virginia and Eastern Pa they have some flexibility with teams. That makes it a lot easier to get Stevenson in… not to mention Middlebury has a 3-0 win over Skidmore, while Stevenson has wins over Messiah and Hopkins, and 2 of 3 losses are to Salisbury. You could be right, but I see this one going the other way.


    November 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm

  8. …and I put Case in my 64 also.


    November 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm

  9. vbnerd,
    Good points all. One thing though. The committee is not supposed to bracket until it selects teams, so the argument that a team should be in for travel considerations is noted but brushed aside. I don’t think Stevenson has the numbers to get a bid. Middlebury’s are far superior. Unofficially I have Middlebury with a .640-ish strength of schedule and a 4-7 record against ranked teams. Stevenson is .513-ish and 3-3. Doesn’t seem close, but we’ll see. I get some red ink on my projections every year.

    There are a lot of reasons why I don’t try to bracket the teams anymore. I have them roughed in just so I know if they make sense and whether they’re feasible. The regional hosts I have above will work with six flights. I couldn’t figure out a way to get less than that, so I considered the task complete. When a team can go to three or four high-potential regional hosts and not change the competitive balance very much, it’s not even worth the effort.

    If you could only see my computer desk right now. It’s littered with VB-related Post-Its, pages with mileages, with each team’s results, with records against ranked teams, strength of schedules, etc. But bracketing is a fool’s errand. There are far too many ways to move the puzzle pieces and get a correct answer. Some of the answers are better than others, but we could do the bracketing independently 10 times and get 10 different correct answers. I can only assume that there are going to be at least a few teams besides the West and South regions that will be playing outside their sport regions.

    If you care, Geneva can go to Calvin, but Altoona (510 miles) cannot. Then again you could change the regional host from Calvin to Witt and come up with another set of options.


    November 7, 2011 at 12:31 am

  10. Hey, sorry I’m coming to this a little late but giving this breakdown some love on the front of D3sports.com. Good stuff!

    Patrick L. Coleman

    November 7, 2011 at 12:56 am

  11. Looks like Case Western did have 3 wins against teams that won their conference and are going to the tournament, Geneva (2 wins) and Johns Hopkins, in addition to 3 wins of regionally ranked opponents. Seven matches, albeit losses, to teams ranked in the National Top 16 is a schedule few in the country can match. Will be interesting to see if NCAA rewards aggressive scheduling.


    November 7, 2011 at 12:57 am

  12. Mr. Coleman,
    Thank you, sir!

    (12:57) The committee oftentimes does reward the difficult schedule. We’ll find out in nine hours.



    November 7, 2011 at 1:11 am

  13. […] show that’s scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. central. After the selections, I’ll grade my work and maybe offer a few comments. Then I’ll continue cranking out the Regional Guides (example […]

  14. Springfield is hosting.


    November 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

  15. Thank you, congratulations and good luck!


    November 7, 2011 at 10:16 am

  16. still nothing on thw selection show…you having any luck?


    November 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

  17. Not yet. The show started 52 minutes later than scheduled last season.


    November 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

  18. has it beeen announced yet?


    November 7, 2011 at 10:29 am

  19. Not sure why NYU would even be in consideration. They do not have one big win at all this year and only had 3 wins in conference with two being over 8th place Brandeis. Also, losses to Hunter,Fredonia twice and RIT does not scream out NCAA tourney team. This was the first year where I looked at their schedule and it was this weak. Usually they play all of the big teams from all regions. This year looks like they scheduled down pretty hard. Case should be rewarded for their schedule imo


    November 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

  20. […] NCAA Tournament volleyball field will come out later today, but D3Sports.com contributor Ricky Nelson projects the field, which includes Middlebury and Tufts as earning Pool C […]

  21. […] projections didn’t hold up. No surprise there. I only got 20 of 23 at-larges correct. Stevenson, Pacific Lutheran and Bethel were NCAA selections over my picks of Case, Washington and […]

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