There are two sets of DII College playoffs taking place this weekend – in the West and Mid-Atlantic.
Maybe the most intriguing match at any level this weekend is one of the West semifinals to be played in St. Charles, Mo. on the campus of Lindenwood, where second-ranked Lindenwood plays perhaps its toughest college opponent since forming a team in Northern Colorado.
UNC has made the DII final four five times in the last 14 years, winning the title in 2005. The Bears spent last season in DI-AA, but have returned to DII this season.
Lindenwood is a fully varsity program with a sprinkling of very good foreign talent and a boatload of kids from Colorado Springs, where Northern Colorado usually plucks some players.
Both of these teams dominated their leagues. Northern Colorado went 7-0, outscoring opponents 435-96. Lindenwood went 8-0, with their average league score being an astronomical 114-3.
It’s unfortunate that one of these quality teams will miss out on the National playoffs, but only the semifinals winners will advance.
In the other West semifinal are Texas Tech and Central Missouri. The Red Raiders lost just one league game this season – to St. Edward’s. The Mules only played two league games, both big wins over Creighton.
Texas Tech is smarting after not being able to find a DI-AA league to play in, and they’ll be disappointed with anything less than a second trip to the DII sweet 16 in three years.
Central Missouri is back in the West playoffs for the first time this century and would be happy to make the program’s first appearance at Nationals.
The Mid-Atlantic quarterfinals are also this weekend.
Lafayette (EPRU3) @ Salisbury (PRU1)
Old Dominion (VRU3) @ Radford (VRU1)
Georgetown (PRU3) @ East Stroudsburg (EPRU1)
VMI (VRU2) @ Towson (PRU2)
Salisbury should be expected to beat Lafayette without much trouble, and Radford ought to be expected to beat Old Dominion, as it did 44-26 in the fall. Old Dominion was actually supposed to miss out on the playoffs, but when Potomac’s second seed couldn’t go, ODU stepped in.
The interesting matches will be Georgetown against East Stroudsburg and Towson against the Virginia Military Institute.
It’s unclear how good ESU is, given that the top DII EPRU teams from a year ago have moved to DI-AA, so the Hoyas could be a good match-up, despite finishing third in the Potomac.
And Towson lost to James Madison a few weeks back in a friendly. James Madison finished behind VMI in Virginia, so this game could probably swing either way.
The winners will advance to the semfinals/finals April 14-15 in Pittsburgh, Pa.