Three of the DI-AA Sweet 16 spots have already been clinched – Midwest (Wisconsin), Mideast (Davenport) and East Coast (Northeastern). Dartmouth trounced the Ivy this fall, going undefeated in league play, but the Ivy is holding a four-team playoff in the spring to determine its representative for the postseason.
The Empire Conference will be down to four teams by the end of the fall, and in the spring they’ll play a one-weekend, four-team playoff to determine a champ. The two eastern division teams have already been identified – Stony Brook will take the top seed and Iona the second seed. The western division still has three weeks of play left. St. Bonaventure is the front runner for the top seed and Binghamton is the likely second seed. They play Saturday.
The Heart of America and Southwest are also underway currently. They’re both taking a break for the West College All Star Championships, but will commence again in a couple of weeks. Both are new leagues forged out of old ones, but they’re tough to predict at the moment. Arkansas and Kansas appear to be the front runners in the HOA, and Texas is probably the favorite in the Southwest.
The Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Northwest, Pacific Mountain West and South Independent Conference begin league play next semester, as does the Northern California league, which doesn’t have the required seven teams to garner an automatic bid. However, its champion could well receive an at-large, of which there are three.
Another at-large is likely to go to the runner up in the Mideast. Last year Davenport finished second in the Mideast to Bowling Green, and the Panthers won the national title. Bowling Green and Miami play Saturday to determine the Mideast runner up.
Below are the first-round playoff matchups:
Wisconsin vs. Heart of America
Davenport vs. Southwest
Empire vs. Eastern Penn
Ivy vs. Northeastern
Northwest vs. At-Large
Pac. Coast Mtn. West vs. At-Large
Atlantic Coast vs. At-Large
SCRC vs. South Independent