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It was awful hard to rank DII teams this year, with so much change all over the country. Were some of the new conferences full of cupcake teams? Turns out, yes, probably. Were some of the new conferences an awful lot more competitive than we thought? Turns out, yes, probably.
The prime example of the latter was the Northern Lights. Duluth destroyed teams in the playoffs, including 2011 National Champion UW-Whitewater, until falling to Salisbury in the final. Duluth lost two games all year, the final to the Sharks and a regular season bout to North Dakota State. ND State finished third in the Northern Lights, behind Duluth and Northern Iowa. So we credit UNI and North Dakota State for being pretty darned good.
We knew Salisbury and Towson were good all year, so they remain in the top three, where they’ve sat pretty much all season. They were a roadblock for Potomac rival Georgetown. The Hoyas actually beat quarterfinalists Colgate in the spring, so we bring the Hoyas into the fold and push them ahead of Colgate.
Speaking of Colgate, we determined their region was the weakest, by quite a lot, in the National playoffs, and our rankings reflect that line of thought.
At the end of the day, there are some conferences that are stronger than others, and those strong leagues had two or three teams that were better than other conferences’ champions.
With only a few at-large bids to be handed out, many of those strong teams from relatively strong conferences, like Georgetown, UNI, ND State, UW-Stout, Holy Cross, Mary Washington, Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State, were not going to get into the Sweet 16. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re good teams.
||North Dakota State