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

Ricky Nelson’s 2013 projected field of 64

This is how I think the NCAA selection release should look. Using history as a guide, this is not how the NCAA release will look. History says the NCAA and I will disagree on three of my projected teams.

We’ll see if I can improve upon my tourney field projections.
2012: 19-of-22 at-large bids
2011: 19-of-22
2010: 19-of-21
2009: 19-of-22
2008: 20-of-23

Tomorrow’s online selection show is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. central.

POOL A (43)
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference: Penn State Behrend
American Southwest Conference: Hardin-Simmons
Capital Athletic Conference: Christopher Newport
Centennial Conference: Johns Hopkins
City University of New York Athletic Conference: Baruch
College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin: Elmhurst
Colonial States Athletic Conference: Cabrini
Commonwealth Coast Conference: Roger Williams
Commonwealth Conference: Stevenson
Empire 8: Nazareth
Freedom Conference: Eastern
Great Northeast Athletic Conference: Rivier
Great South Athletic Conference: Agnes Scott
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference: Bluffton
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: Wartburg
Landmark Conference: Juniata
Liberty League: Clarkson
Little East Conference: UMass Boston
Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference: Westfield State
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association: Calvin
Midwest Conference: Cornell
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: St. Thomas
New England Collegiate Conference: Southern Vermont
New England Small College Athletic Conference: Williams
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletics Conference: Springfield
New Jersey Athletic Conference: Richard Stockton
North Atlantic Conference: Colby-Sawyer
North Coast Athletic Conference: Wittenberg
North Eastern Athletic Conference: Gallaudet
Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference: Dominican
Northwest Conference: Pacific Lutheran
Ohio Athletic Conference: Mount Union
Old Dominion Athletic Conference: Washington and Lee
Presidents’ Athletic Conference: Thomas More
Skyline Conference: St. Joseph’s (Long Island)
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: Cal Lutheran
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference: Trinity (Texas)
St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: Webster
State University of New York Athletic Conference: Buffalo State
University Athletic Association: Chicago
Upper Midwest Conference: Northwestern
USA South Athletic Conference: Maryville
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: Wisconsin-Stevens Point

POOL B (2)
Nebraska Wesleyan UC Santa Cruz

POOL C (19)
Bowdoin New York Univ.
Carnegie Mellon
Colorado College
Mary Hardin-Baylor
Ohio Northern DePauw
Puget Sound UT Dallas
Saint Benedict
Washington-St. Louis
Wisconsin-Eau Claire New Paltz

Bonus predictions: Regional hosts will be St. Thomas, Calvin, Juniata, Elmhurst, Springfield, Clarkson, Emory, and Cal Lutheran. However, those are more speculative than my at-large projections because I don’t know which institutions submitted bids to host.

As usual there will be a handful of teams with a legitimate gripe. It’s not difficult to see which teams were my last projected teams and which teams didn’t make my projections. For the record, Puget Sound was the last team to make my projected field. DePauw, UT Dallas, New York Univ., Amherst, Millikin, New Paltz, and Coe were among those I struggled with at the end.

The good news for teams not mentioned above is that the committee and I have never agreed. But I feel OK about the projections. Of course some could go either way.

I do not project where teams are going, but if my teams are correct, I have a pretty decent guess as to where they are heading. I don’t project seeded regionals because it’s a fool’s errand. Even if the NCAA and I agree on each one of the above teams, there is almost no chance that we’ll send the same teams to the same regionals. There are too many iterations and variables. Complicating matters is the fact that I don’t know the regional hosts.

If you don’t know, the NCAA can, and will, send teams outside their regions as long as a team is within 500 miles of a host institution. The NCAA has that freedom for financial and/or competitive balance reasons. An example of that freedom this year would be Thomas More, which could stay in its region and play at (presumably) Calvin. Other options for the Saints are to drive to Emory, Elmhurst or Juniata, if those teams are chosen to host. Some options are more plausible and prudent than others, but the point is that the NCAA has options with TMC. And TMC is not unique in that regard. For what it’s worth, my hunch is that TMC will be at Emory by the way.

Tell me where I’m wrong on my projections. However, I will be away from 6-8 p.m. tonight. I also work until about 2 p.m. tomorrow, so I will miss the selection show and the initial reaction. Feel free to leave comments on my projections and/or the NCAA’s slightly more official version that comes out tomorrow.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

November 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

25 Responses

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  1. Does Nebraska Wesleyan have to be in? They said 2 for pool B but wow, what a reach!

    Ohio Northern and Puget Sound are probably in a hat with New Paltz and UTDallas. I know they pick the teams first and then figure hosts, but I feel like those 4 being so different geographically give them some flexibility if they chose to use it.

    I didn’t think Clarkson would host when it looked like New Paltz and Stevens were in (along with other NYC area teams Baruch and St. Joseph’s) but with Naz and Buffalo State in, Clarkson looks possible again.

    With only 3 LA area teams (Cal Lu, CMS and Pomona Pitzer) are they really going to fly 5 teams into California? Pac Lu, Colorado and Puget Sound (if in) are flying wherever they go, so maybe that makes sense but I wonder if bringing in the Texas teams to fill out that group really makes sense.

    Are they really going to make Hope and Calvin play in a regional? Could Hope go to Elmhurst so we can make that a national title matchup?

    East Coast

    November 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  2. Those are some of the points I struggled with.

    Pool B: Santa Cruz didn’t play 70 percent of its matches in-region. NWU compares favorably to Centre or anyone else in the SAA. UPDATE: Sometimes I perceive a bias — whether from the committee or elsewhere — against NWU for its split schedule. NWU is no slam dunk, but I think the P-Wolves deserve the bid based on the criteria. I’ll grant that a 12-match D-III schedule is hard to judge, but I happen to think NWU has another good team this year no matter what the selection criteria numbers say.

    I think CLU so deserves to host that five flights are necessary. If Pomona isn’t selected, six flights could be pushing it. But if Emory hosts, it’s looking good for a majority of teams to drive there, so even six flights to California is not out of the question. Agnes Scott being just up the road from Emory helps in that regard, but more teams can drive to Atlanta than you’d think.

    I do think Hope and Calvin will be at the same regional. It would be a drastic change in philosophy if they were not. However, the NCAA changed the criteria quite a bit, so it’s possible that Hope gets shipped. I’m not counting on it.

    Neither here nor there, but the D-III baseball committee is on record as saying it likes to keep the top halves (ish) of each region together at regionals. Then all bets are off after the top halves (or there about). It may not be totally relevant, but it’s worth sharing.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

  3. Nebraska Wesleyan is credited with 12 matches vs D3 competiton of 28 total, where Santa Cruz played exactly 70%. Wesleyan could have a waiver but I’d still side with Santa Cruz.

    Richkern.com’s last ranking of ALL college teams (necessary because RK counts Wesleyan as an NAIA school) had them 22 places apart, and that is counting the results vs non-D3 teams which are only a secondary criteria. That said, Santa Cruz defeated Elmhurst and has a higher opponents winning % so how did you end up with Nebraska Wesleyan?

    East Coast

    November 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  4. OOps, you replied to this question already… sorry

    East Coast

    November 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

  5. I have UCSC with 26 countable matches. Eight of those matches are outside of the division (Embry-Riddle, UC Merced twice, Ursuline, Holy Names twice, Menlo twice). That’s 69 percent. I don’t know if UCSC has a waiver. I also don’t know if they round like a sixth-grader is taught to do or if they round up.

    If they round up, UCSC is probably the second Pool B. I didn’t consider that they would round differently, but I think the access ratios used to determine bid allocations use some funky rounding math. Funky in that I think they truncate down to the nearest whole number. I’d be surprised if .692 gets rounded to 70 in the NCAA’s eyes.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

  6. just a thought on Elmhurst. they upgraded their schedule and have a better record this year than last but….

    their setting situation is a mess and they’re still working on their line-up…haven’t seen a set rotation all year even in the past 2 weeks.


    November 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

  7. On a personal level…I love your selections. :-)

    I do think I would remove Bowdoin and Carnegie Mellon and add Coe and UTD (have to retain my southern bias). I would even go so far as to say I like F&M over Carnegie Mellon in that region but I have a soft spot for F&M and hate to see one bad match take away from a perfect conference season.

    I would love it if they split up Calvin and Hope…only fair.

    Your comment made me go look at Puget Sound again as I had them as a lock to make it. They definitely ended the season poorly. Would a Pool B selection for UCSC maybe drop Puget Sound?


    November 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm

  8. You could be correct about Mellon and Bowdoin. The win over WUSTL made Mellon’s resume look good in the pile of teams toward the end. Mellon also split with Chicago while Coe lost to Chicago. Bowdoin? I wouldn’t give that projection many confidence points either. If Hope is 100, Bowdoin is about 15.

    I really like Coe this year, but I think DePauw gets in before the Kohawks. I couldn’t get DePauw in there.

    I don’t think F&M’s profile is good enough in comparison to the others on the pile. A win over Susquehanna is about as good as it gets.

    By rule a bid for UCSC shouldn’t affect anything. But I see what you’re saying. I don’t think it would affect UPS though.

    My last team came down to UPS, UTD and DePauw. Even though I had Bowdoin in there before UPS, I have more confidence that UPS is in, if that makes any sense. I have the least confidence in Bowdoin. My next team is [flips a coin] DePauw.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm

  9. Elmhurst didn’t submit a bid.


    November 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm

  10. Four UAA teams will not make it past the committee. Coe instead of Carnegie Mellon. Also too many Ohio teams, ohio northern out, De Pauw in.


    November 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm

  11. Interesting. Whitewater then? Or Chicago, I guess.
    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm

  12. Four Five UAA and four WIAC teams made the 2010 tourney.

    DePauw over ONU even though ONU beat DePauw and was never below DePauw in the rankings?

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

  13. Contrary- Elmhurst DID submit a bid, but the college has an event already scheduled for Sunday 11/17. The NCAA would have to allow a Th-F-S tournament at Elmhurst in order for them to host, but bid was submitted.


    November 10, 2013 at 11:38 pm

  14. I need to be at work in less than five hours, so I’m out of here for the night. Thank you for stopping by tonight. Please continue to leave comments if you have them.

    I’ll be back tomorrow at about 2 p.m. central. Enjoy the selection show without me, all.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 10, 2013 at 11:52 pm

  15. If you are having trouble finding the selection show, use this: http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule

    Good luck to all.


    November 11, 2013 at 9:55 am

  16. Anxious to hear from Ricky on the selections. Some (obvious) notes:
    – Cal Lutheran isn’t hosting the West???? I had my airline tickets almost purchased.
    – Calvin and Hope in the finals…very cool what the NCAA did here.
    – Ricky missed on 5 selections (OMG)!
    – Out were Bowdoin, Ohio Northern, Puget Sound, Eau Claire and Nebraska Wesleyan.
    – In were UTD, DePauw, NYU, New Paltz and UCSC.
    – Clarkson’s region is cake. West has to be happy to draw them in their half of the bracket.
    – The Minnesota and Illinois brackets are STACKED. Ranked teams are #1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20 and 25 and that doesn’t include Whitewater!
    – Claremont travels to Atlanta? If you can do that to them then couldn’t we break up some of these other regions?


    November 11, 2013 at 10:54 am

  17. Atlanta needed a team to fly in and CMS needed to fly. You could have traded them with another team that was flying like Pac Lu or Pomona but they can’t fly them to Williams and then fly UMass Boston to Atlanta because that creates another flight.

    Most of the regions look pretty clear. I think Hope-Elmhurst, and Cal Lu-Trinity will be the highlights of next weekend. NE is a shootout with 3 teams that have a chance to survive the weekend. Clarkson, Emory, Juniata, St. Thomas and Calvin all look good to get to the second weekend.

    East Coast

    November 11, 2013 at 11:20 am

  18. I’ve felt most of the year that Calvin, Cal Lutheran and Hope were really at a different level then the rest so I would have to take all three of those teams. Clarkson, St. Thomas, Springfield (flip a three-sided coin) and then Juniata and Emory for the Elite Eight. I would have taken Colorado College but their play during the their tournament (against Dallas and SU) was shocking. That’s pretty much taking all of the favorites!

    If I had to pick someone else in each bracket – Trinity, Richard Stockton, St. Ben, Washington – St Louis, Chicago, Roger Williams, Eastern and CC.


    November 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

  19. Five disagreements is pathetic, no? ONU and Eau Claire should be in though.
    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm

  20. Way ahead of me. I’m still at the stage of wrapping my head around the selections. Give me eight hours and I’ll see if I can crank out the Regional Guides that’ll have my predictions. Predictions that can only get better after the selections debacle.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

  21. 5 UAA teams made it in 2010. Don’t be so quick to judge! NYU is a bit strange tho


    November 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

  22. Quick to judge? Is that a Brandeis pun? I know that five UAA teams teams made the tourney in 2010. What does the comment refer to?

    NYU isn’t a horrible selection. New Paltz over Eau Claire wasn’t the best decision I’ve seen.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

  23. CalHawk said 4 UAA teams wouldn’t make it.


    November 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm

  24. […] The committee and I set a new record for disagreement. The worst disagreement since 2009 was three teams. This year I had five different teams. […]

  25. […] NCAA tournament selection committee and I disagreed on five tournament teams. I was wrong on seven conference predictions. Good thing there cannot be a difference in opinion […]

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