November 10, 2010

The facts behind the men's NCAA bracket

St. Scholastica won the first automatic bid awarded to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

By Chris Shirk
D3sports.com

2010 representation

Division III men’s soccer currently consists of a little over 400 programs, 394 of which were eligible for this year’s national championship.  This overwhelming number of schools is divided into eight competition regions ranging from the numerically large New England region (75 schools) to the geographically immense but sparse West region (38 schools).  385 schools are associated in 44 conferences of which 41 have their champion automatically entered in the tournament.  Two Pool B selections are made from the six eligible independent schools and those from the three conferences without an automatic berth.  The remaining 17 spots in the 60-team tournament field are filled by unrestricted Pool C at-large selections of eligible schools. 

Thirty-eight tournament participants (63%) hail from the four dense east coast regions which make up 57% of the eligible schools.  The other four regions, containing 43% of all eligible schools, are represented by twenty-two teams (37% of field).  The champions of the two conferences with schools on either side of this east/west divide came from the east this year, but the majority of the “over-representation” from the east is a result of the at-large selections.  Thirteen of seventeen Pool C berths went to eastern schools.  This is a result of the perceived strongest conferences being located primarily in the east (NESCAC, NJAC, Centennial, and half the UAA).  Having received multiple at-large selections, those conferences represent 10 of the 17 at-large berths the four eastern regions picked up. 

Participants by entry

  Conference Champions (AQ): 41
  Pool B Berths: 2
  Pool C Berths: 17

Participants by region (total eligible schools in parentheses)

  New England - 12 (of 74 eligible schools) (16%)
  East - 10 (of 57) (18%)
  Mid-Atlantic - 8 (of 47) (17%)
  South Atlantic - 8 (of 45) (18%)
  Great Lakes - 5 (of 48) (10%)
  Central - 6 (of 40) (15%)
  North - 7 (of 45) (16%)
  West - 4 (of 37) (11%)

Multiple participants from one conference

4 - NESCAC, NJAC, UAA; 3 - Centennial; 2 - Landmark, MIAA, MIAC, NCAC, SUNYAC, WIAC

Tournament appearances by 2010 participants

Many of the historically strong programs are back in tournament this year, but there is one major absence: Wheaton (Ill.), one of the tournament's all-time best.   This year ends their streak of 17 straight appearances, the second longest in the history of the tournament. This is only the fifth time that the tournament, now in its 37th year, is without the Thunder.  Only Ohio Wesleyan has made more appearances - 33 with this year’s entry.  While some other historically, but not recently, strong programs also are missing (Rowan, Elizabethtown, Bethany), the notable absences given their recent success are: Salisbury (miss for only third time in last 12 years), Virginia Wesleyan (fourth absence in last 14 yrs.), Wartburg (streak of seven straight appearances broken), Western New England (first miss after six straight), and Redlands (left out for second straight year after nine straight appearances).

Eight schools are excitedly making their first tournament appearance while 26 of the 60 participants have been here at least ten times now.  Besides all-time leader Ohio Wesleyan, the most regular participants to be in the field in 2010 are Messiah (22 years) and Babson (20 years).  Thinking of this year’s seniors, in the case of twelve schools their 4th-year players have never missed the tournament.  Messiah is back for the fourteenth consecutive year, the longest current streak, with the next longest streak being nine, held by Trinity (Texas) and Dominican.

Participants by number of tournament appearances

  First appearance - 8
  less than 10 App. - 26
  10 to 19 App. - 23
  20 to 29 App. - 2
  over 30 App. - 1 

Returning participants from last year (2009): 31

First-time participants: 8 - Daniel Webster, Neumann, Nichols, St. Scholastica. SUNYIT, SUNY-Maritime, Suffolk, Thomas

Most NCAA Tournament appearances: 33 - Ohio Wesleyan (D-III men's soccer record); 22 - Messiah; 20 - Babson; 19 - Washington U.; 16 - Williams

Most consecutive NCAA appearances (current, including this year): 14 - Messiah; 9 - Trinity (Tx.), Dominican; 8 - Stevens; 6 - Loras, Ohio Wesleyan, Rochester, York (Pa.); 5 - Amherst, Johns Hopkins, Montclair St.; 4 - Calvin (Note: D-III men’s soccer record: 18 - Ohio Wesleyan 1978-95, Elizabethtown 1980-97) 

Participants' 2010 win-loss-tie records

Obviously most teams that win a very high percentage of the time will be playing in the NCAA tournament, but some who don’t win their conference are passed over for one reason or another.  Twenty-six of the teams with the top thirty most winning teams are in tournament; the exceptions: Lesley (15-2-1, .861), DePauw (14-2-2, .833), Westfield St. (14-3-1, .806), and PSU-Behrend (14-2-4, .800).  All but DePauw were No. 1 seeds in weaker conferences who did not win the title and automatic berth; and low strength-of-schedule factored into all four of them being overlooked for at-large berths.  One team enters the tournament without a loss: UW-Oshkosh at 16-0-3.  2009 was the first time since 1989, twenty years prior, that no team entered the tournament undefeated.  However, over the last 10 years less than half (12 of 25) of the undefeated teams managed to advance to the quarterfinals, nine reaching the Final Four, three the final, and just two becoming undefeated national champions: Trinity (Tx.) in 2003 and Messiah in 2005.  Both those squads not only completed the season undefeated, but also perfect (no ties).

What is always interesting is the less successful teams over the course of the season who find a way into the tournament, usually via conference tournament upsets. Every year a few teams sneaks in with a record not much above .500 record and seven or more losses; but this year Kean, as NJAC champions with a 10-10-3 (.500) mark, is a rare case of double-digit losses.  In the previous ten years, only twice has a team carried double-digit losses into the tournament.  Those two cases are among the four in which a team with losing record participated during that same period; all four teams went one and out.  7-loss teams have a 6-28-1 record in their opening tournament games, with 2 of those is wins coming in matches between 7-loss teams.  Only three times has a 7-loss team advanced two rounds in the tournament, however, in the case of Wheaton (Ill.) in 2006, they advanced to the title game.
Highest Winning Pct.:  .947 - Messiah (18-1-0); .929 - Chris. Newport (19-1-1); .925 - Dominican  (18-1-1); .921 - UW-Oshkosh (16-0-3); .900 - Trinity (Tx.) (18-2-0)

Lowest Winning Pct.: .500 - Kean (10-10-3); .553 - Hunter (10-7-3); .605 - Suffolk (11-7-1); .611 - Salem St. (9-5-4); .614 - SUNY-Maritime (13-8-1)

Most Wins:  19 - Christopher Newport (19-1-1); 18 - Messiah (18-1-0), Dominican (18-1-1), Trinity (Tx.) (18-2-0); two with 17 wins

Fewest Wins:  9 - Salem St. (9-5-4); 10 - Kean (10-10-3), Hunter (10-7-3), Rochester (10-2-5), Merchant Marine (10-2-5)

Most Losses:  10 - Kean (10-10-3); 8 - SUNY Maritime (13-8-1); 7 - Hunter (10-7-3), Suffolk (11-7-1); two with 6 losses

Fewest Losses:  0 - UW-Oshkosh (16-0-3); eight with 1 loss

Most Ties:  6 - Muhlenberg (11-2-6); 5 - Rochester (10-2-5), Merchant Marine (10-2-5); six with 4 ties

Fewest Ties: 0 - Loras (15-6-0), Trinity (Tx.) (18-2-0), Messiah (18-1-0); sixteen with only 1 tie

Fewest Blemishes (combined ties and losses):  1 - Messiah (18-1-0); 2 - Chris. Newport (19-1-1), Dominican (18-1-1), Trinity (Tx.) (18-2-0); 3 - UW-Oshkosh (16-0-3), Ohio Wesleyan (16-1-2)

Most Blemishes (combined ties and losses):  13 - Kean (10-10-3); 10 - Hunter (10-7-3); 9 - SUNY-Maritime (13-8-1), Salem St. (9-5-4), Catholic (11-5-4) 

Participants' 2010 Team Offense and Defense

As expected, many of the highest powered offenses and most unyielding defenses are present in the tournament.  Twelve of the 20 highest scoring attacks will be on show, but better yet seventeen of the twenty stingiest defenses are in the tournament.  In fact, 32 of the top 40 defenses by goals against average (GAA) are present, perhaps lending credence to the adage that defense (more so than offense) wins championships. You might be surprised, however, by some of the relatively low scoring offenses and porous lines of defense that found their way into the dance.

OFFENSE [Note: national rank out of 400+ schools listed in brackets]

Most Goals Scored:  83 - Trinity (Texas) (in 20 games) [1]

Highest GSA (per 90 min.):  4.13 - Trinity (Tx.) [1]; 3.15 - Neumann [2]; 3.12 - Dominican [3]; 2.87 - Chris. Newport [5]; 2.83 – Messiah [7]

Least Goals Scored:  22 - Hunter (in 19 games) [274]

Lowest GSA (per 90 min.):  1.10 - Hunter [301]; 1.23 - Kean [276]; 1.34 - Catholic [248]; 1.41 - Merchant Marine [231]; 1.49 - Rochester [206]

DEFENSE [Note: national rank out of 400+ schools listed in brackets]

Least Goals Allowed:  4 - UW-Oshkosh (in 19 games), Stevens (in 18 games) [tied-1]

Lowest GAA (per 90 min.): 0.20 - UW-Oshkosh [1]; 0.21 - Stevens [2]; 0.30 = Dominican [3]; 0.33 - Emory, New York U. [tie-4]

Most Goals Allowed:  31 - SUNY-Maritime (in 22 games) [263]; 30 - Kean (in 23 games) [245]; 29 - Suffolk (in 19 games) [237]

Highest GAA (per 90 min.):  1.48 - Suffolk [221]; 1.37 - SUNY-Maritime [189]; 1.23 - Kean [161]; 1.21 - Keene St. [156]; 1.20 - Carroll (WI) [153]

Most Shutouts Posted: 16 - Dominican (in 20 games) [1]

Highest Shutout Percentage: 83% - Stevens [1]; 80% - Dominican [2]; 79% - UW-Oshkosh [3]; 76% - Middlebury [4]; 72% - Emory [6]

Fewest Shutouts Posted: 3 - Suffolk (in 19 games) [272]

Lowest Shutout Percentage: 16% - Suffolk [302]; 23% - SUNY-Maritime [239]; 25% - Keene St. [219]; 28% - Thomas (ME), Salem St. [tied-192]

Highest Goal Differential: +3.38 - Trinity (Tx.) [1]; +2.82 - Dominican [2]; +2.55 - UW-Oshkosh [3]; +2.49 - Emory [4]; +2.37 - Messiah [5]

Lowest Goal Differential: 0.00 - Kean [225]; 0.15 - Hunter [199]; 0.48 - Catholic [159]; 0.59 - Keens St. [135]; 0.67 - Salem St. [125]

Tournament history of 2010 participants

Not only does the tournament field contain many familiar faces as mentioned above, but many of the regular participants are among the most successful, racking up games and wins along the way, ... and inevitably losses as well - 21st century exception for Messiah College notwithstanding.  It should come as no surprise that the school having participated most often, Ohio Wesleyan, has also played in the most games (85) and has tallied the second most victories (51) and most losses (28) in tournament history. 

As if anyone paying attention for even just a couple seasons didn’t know, Messiah is the tournament’s most winning team, leading in both total victories (56) and winning percentage (.806).  However, that stunning percentage is not the best all-time as former Division III power UNC-Greensboro went 26-2-0 over seven years (1981-87) for a .929 winning percentage before transitioning to Division I.  UNC-Greensboro won five titles during that stretch which only Messiah has eclipsed with their seven titles in the past decade.  

Most NCAA Tournament Games Played:  85 - Ohio Wesleyan (D-III men's soccer record); 72 - Messiah; 48 - Williams; 46 - Washington U.; 43 - Babson

Most NCAA Tournament Wins:  56 - Messiah (D-III men's soccer record); 51 - Ohio Wesleyan; 28 - Williams, Trinity (Tx.); 27 - Babson, Washington U.

Most NCAA Tournament Losses:  28 - Ohio Wesleyan (D-III men's soccer record); 18 - Washington U.; 14 - Babson, Claremont; 13 - Johns Hopkins, Kean

Highest NCAA Tournament Winning Pct. (min. 5 yrs. & 15 matches):  .806 - Messiah (22 yrs., 72 matcehs); .713 - Trinity (Tx.) (14 yrs., 40 matches); .676 - Brockport (7 yrs., 17 matches); .667 - Williams (16 yrs., 48 matches); .651 - Babson (20 yrs., 43 matches); .650 - Stevens (9 yrs., 20 matches)

Most NCAA Titles:  7 - Messiah; 3 - Babson; eight with 1 title

Most Final Four Appearances:  11 - Messiah; 5 - Ohio Wesleyan, Babson; 4 - Williams, Ohio Wesleyan

Besides two-time defending champion Messiah, eight other former champions are also vying for the title in 2010, including all five schools not named Messiah that won the championship during the past 12 years.  Those nine current and former champions in this year’s field own 18 of the 36 titles in Division III men’s soccer history including the first two ever: Brockport in 1974 and Babson in 1975.

Prior champions participating in 2010

  Messiah - 8 (00-02-04-05-06-08-09)

  Babson - 3 (75-79-80)

  Middlebury - 1 (07)

  Trinity (Texas) - 1 (03)

  Richard Stockton - 1 (01)

  St. Lawrence - 1 (99)

  Ohio Wesleyan - 1 (98)

  Williams - 1 (95)

  Kean - 1 (92)

  Brockport State - 1 (74)

Monday, Oct. 22: All times Eastern
M:
2:00 PM
Northland at St. Scholastica
M:
3:00 PM
Elmhurst at Knox
M:
4:00 PM
Berkeley (NY) at Keystone
M:
4:00 PM
Staten Island at New Jersey City
Live stats
M:
4:00 PM
Valley Forge at Patrick Henry
M:
5:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Guilford
Video
M:
Cancelled
Covenant at Pensacola Christian
M:
6:00 PM
Bob Jones at Brevard
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Western Connecticut at SUNY-Purchase
Live stats
M:
7:00 PM
Lesley at Rivier
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Case Western Reserve
M:
7:00 PM
Westfield State at Albertus Magnus
Video
M:
Cancelled
Plymouth State at Norwich
M:
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Massachusetts Maritime
Video Video
M:
7:00 PM
Thomas More at Centre
M:
7:30 PM
Amherst at Brandeis
Video
M:
8:30 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor
M:
8:30 PM
Millsaps at William Carey
W:
2:30 PM
Albertus Magnus at Lasell
Video
W:
3:00 PM
Rosemont at Staten Island
W:
3:00 PM
Immaculata at Centenary (N.J.)
W:
3:00 PM
Rivier at Pine Manor
W:
4:00 PM
Farmingdale State at Mount St. Vincent
Video Video
W:
4:00 PM
New Jersey City at Medgar Evers
W:
4:00 PM
Wilson at Trinity (D.C.)
Video Video Live stats
W:
4:30 PM
Northland at St. Scholastica
W:
6:00 PM
Sarah Lawrence at Brooklyn
W:
6:00 PM
CCNY at Cedar Crest
W:
6:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor
W:
7:00 PM
Agnes Scott at LaGrange
Video
W:
7:00 PM
John Jay at New York University
W:
7:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Adrian
Monday, Oct. 22: All times Eastern
M:
7:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Case Western Reserve
Monday, Oct. 22: All times Eastern
W:
6:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor