NCAA BRACKET RAPID REACTION ROUNDTABLE
Nothing like a little rapid reaction roundtable from the bloggers to continue our NCAA week. If you missed the Live Blog earlier today, you missed something special. While we encourage you to go through the text from what basically turned into a public/slower version of our group chat, we also thought it would be nice if we summed up the post-release chat in one place. Some bloggers actually have day jobs that prohibit them from focusing on the DIII tennis world 24/7 (gasp), but we’ve brought together the ne’er do wells who could skive off for a bit during a Monday afternoon. The bracket is listed below for your reference, and we even have some initial predications at the end. Enjoy!
Region 1: Emory*, Sewanee, W&L, NC Wesleyan, Thomas More
Region 2: Middlebury*, Skidmore, TCNJ, Baruch, Colby-Sawyer, Cabrini
Region 3: CMS*, Trinity TX, Whitman, UT-Tyler
Region 4: Bowdoin*, MIT, Stevens, Nichols, UMass-Boston
Region 5: Wash U*, Kalamazoo, Kenyon, Wheaton, Rose-Hulman
Region 6: Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins*, Christopher Newport, John Carroll, Goucher, Franciscan
Region 7: Chicago, GAC*, UWW, Coe, Grinnell, Concordia-Wisconsin
Region 8: Amherst*, Williams, Wilkes, Yeshiva, Ramapo, Messiah
1) What is your reaction to the bracket in 5 words or fewer?
D3AS: We finally get UAA-NESCAC matchups.
D3Central: It’s anyone’s championship to win
D3NE: Possibly an All-NE semifinals!!!!
D3West: They copied my friggin-fraggin bracket
Guru: So many good storylines
D3Midwest: No real surprises!
D3Regional: Deepest field I’ve seen
D3RegAS: Great draw, should be fun!
D3RegNEC: Enough speculation, let’s start playing!
2) What surprised you the most about the bracket?
D3AS: Nothing was surprising to me other than host sites, which as we’ve seen are very much an imperfect science. The fact that not much of the bracket was surprising is a good thing. There have been years where the bracket has been a complete mess and I hear that is still happening on the Women’s side. Can that be because we don’t have a bracketology on that side? Potentially. But anyways, for this year, love the bracket and I think it’s very fair.
D3NE: I think CMS as the host for its region. I know they have the best facilities and I know they deserve it, but I really thought this might be the year that there was an NCAA regional down in Texas and CMS might have to leave their home court advantage behind for the first time in a long time.
Guru: I’m going to partially agree with NE and also say that Emory hosting was a little surprising. I think the bracket was very well done and there were no curveballs this year, so I’m not totally surprised by anything.
3) What team will benefit most from its draw?
D3AS: This is something that I said in the Live Blog, but I think CMS benefits from the draw of the top seeds. They get to play the winner of either a hobbled Johns Hopkins team and a playoff-fresh Wesleyan team, licking their wounds after a beatdown by Bowdoin at NESCACs. In terms of other teams, don’t overlook GAC getting the bid to host because Chicago let the Women’s side host this year. Home court advantage is nice and with Chicago not having David Liu, GAC can make things interesting.
D3NE: I think there are a couple of teams, but I want to focus on Johns Hopkins. Not only did they get the most inexperienced #1 seed, but they also get to play at their home courts! That’s a HUGE factor because while people don’t often attend regular season tennis matches, PEOPLE SHOW UP FOR NCAAS. We just saw Wesleyan get taken to the woodshed by Bowdoin in the NESCAC semis, and now we will debate their mettle for the next few days. I still think Wesleyan gets through here, but I would be shocked if all the other bloggers felt the same way.
Guru: I think CMS got a little lucky. First of all they are hosting when they probably should have been sent to San Antonio, a place where they got swept and were on the ropes just a few weeks ago. Secondly, in their potential QF they drew NCAA rookie Wesleyan or a depleted Hopkins team. They managed to avoid Chicago, a team that is experienced in NCAAs and beat the Stags in the QF last year. Let’s see if CMS can shake their poor doubles play from this season and make it to the SF.
4) What team did the NCAA screw over?
D3AS: Let’s start this answer by saying no team was screwed over by the NCAA. If we were talking both Women’s and Men’s, then it would be Wesleyan, but again, we’re just talking Men’s. I think the Texas teams got screwed over in the fact that they are not hosting, but can we really complain that the NCAA decided to use an extra flight? No, I don’t think so. In terms of tough draws, Emory gets screwed a little bit because of Amherst’s loss to Williams in the NESCAC Tournament – I think if that doesn’t happen, Emory could have been looking at a Chicago (who they’ve beaten). But again, great job NCAA for making a very fair bracket.
D3NE: I don’t think there are too many teams that fit this category, which is shocking. Because I said Hop I have to say that Wesleyan got a bit of a rough draw for its regional, and I think Skidmore has a tough draw in having to play a scrappy TCNJ team just to make the Sweet 16 before having to battle Midd on their home courts. Then again, no draw for a #2 seed is ever truly a cake walk.
Guru: No one really. But Trinity TX the most (for the second year in a row). It is incredibly puzzling to me that CMS was picked to host a region over the Tigers given that a flight could have been saved. Trinity plays well on their home courts and really gave CMS a hard time earlier this season. After getting sent to Emory last year, the Tigers cannot be thrilled with this draw. To add insult to injury, they need to take on a very dangerous Whitman team in the Round of 32 who had a sneaky good season this year and has beaten Trinity in the past.
D3Midwest: I can’t say anyone got screwed over, but as some have noted, Wesleyan will not have a cake-walk to the Elite 8. It’s a bit unlucky given how tremendous their regular season has been.
5) Which non No. 1 seed is your “sleeper” team to watch?
D3AS: I have to stay in region here and say #HEREWEGOHOP #AllInForMike. Hopkins is my team to watch. They have the history, they have the home court, and they have a potentially wide-eyed Wesleyan team to play. Give me the Elite 8, boys.
D3NE: I was ready to say Trinity TX in this one. They would’ve been hosting a CMS team who has been so far beyond vulnerable in doubles that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coach Settles switch things up again for NCAAs. However, going to CMS is a whole different beast, so instead I’m looking at Williams. It’s a bit of a boring pick, but they did just beat Amherst within the past three days. They don’t matchup particularly well with Emory, as Emory is stronger at Williams’ strongest positions, but they play good doubles and could absolutely beat Herst and put a scare into the Eagles.
Guru: In my mind, despite losing MVP, Hopkins has a path to the Final Four and I would not be stunned to see them get there. Wesleyan is a very good team, but Hop can match their talent and I can easily see them winning that match. The Jays have been to four of the past five Elite 8s and will be playing on their home courts against a Wesleyan team that has never been here and is coming off a less than inspiring performance against Bowdoin as the top seed in the NESCAC tournament. If Hopkins somehow makes the QF, they can sweep doubles against CMS and have enough players to possibly scrape out two wins. They are all in for Mike and have something to play for, so I am really anxious to see how this 3-6 quarter unfolds.
D3Midwest: Williams. The Ephs had some tight 5-4 losses against top NESCAC teams (Bowdoin and Middlebury), and they’ve got to be feeling good after their NESCAC tournament performances. On the right day, they could cause damage.
6) Which hypothetical Sweet 16 match most excites you?
D3AS: Wesleyan/Hopkins, because of what I just said. Many of the readers will pick Wesleyan – they are the media darling this year, by the way. But doubt Hopkins in the post-season and you will be burned more times than not.
D3NE: AMHERST/WILLIAMS END OF STORY.
Guru: As much as I love the fact that Amherst could play Williams (#2 ranked D3 rivalry), Hopkins-Wesleyan is my answer as I explained in the previous question.
7) Which hypothetical Quarterfinal match most excites you?
D3AS: They ALL DO! But to me, it’s Bowdoin vs. Wash U! Bowdoin is hot hot hot right now but Wash U is well, they are Wash U. Wash U was probably hoping for a Wesleyan matchup in the Elite 8 and I would have taken them. But this year, they get the defending champions. Wash U lost to Bowdoin at the Stag-Hen and are going to really have to step up here. I think everyone forgets that they’ve re-inserted Jeremy Bush into the lineup, JJ Kroot has found his limbs, and who knows – if Jason Haugen comes back they could really do some damage.
D3NE: So many to choose from, I love Bowdoin vs Wash U as well, but I will go with Emory vs Amherst. If the Mammoths can get by Williams, they match up very well with the Eagles, as their strengths are their depth. Herst will likely need to win three of the four spots at the bottom of the singles lineup, but I think they can do so and pose a real threat to the top ranked Eagles.
Guru: I think you could make an argument for all four of these, but I’m going with the Bowdoin-Wash U 4-5 match. One of the most interesting stats in D3 is that the last SEVEN defending national champions have failed to make the Final Four in the year following their title. Bowdoin has a very difficult road to break that streak. The Polar Bears had a roller coaster season getting crushed by in-state rival Bates and also winning the NESCAC tournament beating Wesleyan and Midd in the process. The Polar Bears clearly went on a dream run last year, but how badly will they want it this year? If you are trying to prove something or end a streak, who’s the last team you want to see on the other side of the net? Let’s just leave it at that.
8) Without any analysis (there will be plenty of time for that), give us your 2017 NCAA champ, runner up, and final score.
D3AS: Emory defeats CMS 5-1.
D3Central: CMS def. Emory 5-4
D3NE: Middlebury def. Bowdoin 5-4
D3West: Middlebury def. Emory 5-4
Guru: Emory beats Middlebury 5-3 and I am not at all confident in that prediction. This year is wide open and I think any of 8 teams can win it all.
D3Midwest: Emory defeats CMS 5-4
D3Regional: CMS def. Emory 5-4
D3RegAS: CMS def. Emory 5-3
D3RegNEC: Middlebury def. Emory 5-4