TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for November 7, 2021

Nov. 7, 2021 — Who’s in?

After today’s Division I excitement, we’re going to take a stab at who is going to make the NCAA Division I field hockey tournament field.

We’ll start off with our First Four (i.e., the four host sites for the four quadrants in the bracket) and our Last Four (the four teams who will play the “pigtail” games in mid-week.

FIRST FOUR
Iowa
Michigan
Rutgers
North Carolina

Yeah, I know. North Carolina isn’t the team it was last year. But they do play in Karen Shelton Stadium and are the two-time defending NCAA champions. It’s also possible that the committee will give Penn State the “seed” in the grouping and move the hosting to North Carolina because of the pod system (this happens usually once a year).

LAST FOUR
Delaware
Maine
Miami
Fairfield

These are the four teams which will have to play each other; I think Fairfield and Maine will meet, and Miami and Delaware will play off against each other.

So, this is what I think the four regionals will look like, taking into account travel and current conference membership:

IOWA CITY REGIONAL
Iowa vs. Miami-Delaware winner
Liberty vs. Harvard

ANN ARBOR REGIONAL
Michigan vs. Connecticut
Northwestern vs. Syracuse

NEW BRUNSWICK REGIONAL
Rutgers vs. Fairfield-Maine winner
Maryland vs. St. Joseph’s

CHAPEL HILL REGIONAL
North Carolina vs. American
Penn State vs. Louisville

So, there was one major decision that had to be made to fill out the bracket. The following three schools are separated by 13/1000ths of a point in terms of Ratings Percentage Index (as calculated by FieldHockeyCorner.com):

LAST ONES IN (in order by RPI)
13. Syracuse
14. Boston College
15. Connecticut

We could only take two of three from this group. I went first with Connecticut, because their strength of schedule is the sixth best in the country.

The other choice, for me, was Syracuse because of the criteria known as “significant wins.” On October 1, Syracuse beat North Carolina 5-0. One week earlier, Boston College lost 6-1 to UNC. Yes, those fall outside the performance of these teams in their last seven games, but so does the Sept. 17th game between Syracuse and Boston College, won by the Orange by a 3-1 score.

Your turn, NCAA.

Nov. 7, 2021 — The Final Third, Selection Sunday Edition

We’ll be on our Facebook Live presence starting shortly before noon today for our whiparound coverage of all six conference tournament games in NCAA Division I. Join us to see who joins Harvard, Miami University, St. Joseph’s, and American in the Field of 18.

We’ll also make our guesses as to which eight teams will make the field as an at-large bid, as well as to which teams go where; we got every team correct last spring, so we’ll be dropping some proven knowledge today. See you then.