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UPDATE: Bracketology 2016, Nov. 6, 2016, 6 p.m.

Today, the picture started rounding into place when it came to qualification for the NCAA Division I field hockey tournament shortly after 4 p.m. Though there was one game to go (Pacific-Stanford in the America East Tournament), we pretty much knew where the cutoff line for the At-Large bids was going to be.

We didn’t have much in the way of major upsets in one-bid conferences, so we thought that benefitted Princeton. Despite the fact that Stanford vaulted past Princeton in the RPI ratings, the Tigers held onto the eighth-best slot of non-AQ teams. This is crucial for reasons we’ll explain below. Right now, note the “critical area” of teams between 10th and 19th, ranked by Ratings Percentage Index and calculated by FieldHockeyCorner.com, with conference champions highlighted in green:

Team RPI
10 Boston College 0.607
11 Stanford 0.604
12 Michigan 0.596
13 Princeton 0.595
14 Boston University 0.589
15 Harvard 0.588
16 Northwestern 0.585
17T Massachusetts 0.566
17T St. Joseph’s 0.566
19 Iowa 0.564

So, these are the 10 teams with Automatic Qualifiers, ranked in order of their RPI ratings. The last four (in blue) should be in the Play-In Games on Tuesday:

Big Ten: Penn State
ACC: Virginia
Big East: Connecticut
Colonial: Delaware
America East: Stanford
Ivy: Harvard
Atlantic 10: Massachusetts
Patriot: American
MAAC: Monmouth
Mid-American: Kent State

That would make the top 10 in RPI these teams:

Team RPI
1 Duke 0.686
2 Maryland 0.671
3 Syracuse 0.669
4T North Carolina 0.656
9 Louisville 0.611
10 Boston College 0.607
12 Michigan 0.596
13 Princeton 0.595
14 Boston University 0.589
16 Northwestern 0.585

Now, while the NCAA Division I Tournament Committee has historically held to the RPI ratings to choose between at-large teams, it’s not the sole criterion used by the tournament committee.

Indeed, RPI is just one of five criteria that are supposed to be used when comparing one opponent against another. The others are winning percentage, head-to-head competition, record against common opponents, and strength of schedule.

The tournament may also use significant wins or losses, and how a team has done in the last third of its season.

I’ll let the tournament committee take it from here.

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