The first round of the NCAA Regional Rankings were released on Monday.
Remember, the regional rankings reflect the NCAA tournament selection criteria. The top six teams from each region make the playoffs. There are no auto-qualifiers, though if a conference representative finishes in the top 10 of the regional rankings, that conference’s top team is guaranteed selection (“earned access”).
In the Northwest, the first 7 are:
1. Nebraska-Omaha 5-0
2. North Dakota 6-0
3. Grand Valley 5-0
4. Central Washington 4-1
5. Ashland 3-1
6. South Dakota 3-3
7. Winona State 5-1
(Full rankings for all regions)
A few things probably jump at you. Since UNO, UND, and GVSU are all undefeated, they’re presumably ranked on strength of schedule vs D-II opponents. Excluding common opponents between UNO and UND, UNO has played Nebraska-Kearney (3-2), and NW Missouri St (4-1) [.700], while UND has played Humboldt State (2-4), Central Washington (4-1) [.567].
Notice that at #6, USD is the fourth team from the NCC in the rankings. If the season ended today, USD would get bumped from the playoffs to make room for Winona State via “earned access”.
The numbers are somewhat meaningless at this point given the remaining games — for example, UNO vs. UND this weekend will send one of the two down the charts this weekend) — but it’s never too early to dive into the stats 🙂