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20080527_final-four-135

Welcome all to playoff time! Luckily for us here in D3land, we have an extra round of games mid week.  Here is a plain and simple pick’em for these first round games.  We have some really great match ups for the first round as most teams have faced similar opponents and in two cases each other during the regular season.   It’s going to get real tricky to pick these games as the playoffs go on.  In my mind there are 6-7 teams that could easily take the crown this season!   But first they’ll have to make it to Foxboro where I will take the trophy from the winning team and parade around the parking lots like I just won myself!

–North–

Springfield (11-6) vs Mount Ida (13-6)

Both teams are lead by strong offensive units.  They both beat Babson, however Mount Ida only won 8-7 where Springfield topped them 22-6.  And they both lost to Amherst but Springfields was just a wee bit closer.  Mount Ida has an offense that can put up huge numbers in a run and gun game.  If Springfield isn’t sharp this one could be the shocker of the D3 playoffs.

Prediction:  Mount Ida - 13-12 OT

St. Lawrence (12-3) vs Nazareth (11-6)
Earlier this season, St. Lawrence topped Naz 15-10.  Both teams beat Oswego handidly yet lost by large margins to Cortland.  Naz seems to have a better offense from the numbers and the tilt moves to St. Lawrence on the defensive side. It should be a battle to see who moves on to the next round.  The game against each other was pretty early on and both teams have gotten better along the way.  It should come down to coaching.

Prediction:  St. Lawrence - 12-10

US Merchant Marine 11-5 vs Eastern Conn. St. (14-3)
No common opponents played in 2009.  UMM has played 3 playoff teams going 1-2 (beat FDU-Florham 7-6 and lost to Wesleyan and W&L).  ECS has faced 3 playoff teams also going 1-2 (Win over Mt Ida 14-7 and losses to Salisbury and Montclair St).  ECS has just a tad more fire power and will cruise to the win.

Prediction:  Eastern Conn. St. - 13-8

–South–

Cabrini (14-3) vs Montclair St. (13-4)
Both teams dominated in weak conferences but made up for it with tough out of conference schedules.  No opponents in common.  Monclair St. has faced two playoff teams with losses to both Cortland and Wesleyan.  Cabrini has faced 4 playoff teams going 2-2 (Wins over Haverford and FDU-Florham and losses to Gettysburg and Roanoke).  Look for Cabrini’s strong offense to run away with this one.

Prediction:  Cabrini - 16-8

Denision (12-2) vs OWU (10-4)
Due to travel, OWU and Denison get to meet for a 2nd time this season after a Denison TKO in the 1st meeting.  Common opponents; OWU lost to Lynchburg who Denison crushed, both defeated Oberlin, Adrian, Colorado College, Kenyon, Wooster, Wittenburg and Mount St Joseph.  Denison seems to be the better squad this season out in Ohio.

Preditcion:  Denison 15-10

W&L (15-3) vs FDU-Florham (13-4)
The Generals are coming out of the South’s toughest division in 2009.  Common opponents faced; US Merchant Marines beat FDU and lost to W&L, both beat Desales.  FDU is 0-3 against playoff teams (Cabrini, US Merchant Marines and Haverford).  W&L has played 4 playoff team games and are 2-2 with wins over US Merchant Marines and Roanoke in the ODAC finals and losses to Roanoke and Middlebury.  This will be a warm-up for W&L for the following weekend where they will see Gettysburg.

Prediction: W&L 15-6

Here’s what the 2nd RD games would look like based on my 1st Rd picks.  I will update these after the first round of games if any of my picks are in correct.

–NORTH–
*Cortland St. (15-2) vs Mount Ida (13-6)
Tufts (13-4) vs WNE. (16-2)
*Middlebury (13-2) vs St. Lawrence (12-3)
*Wesleyan (CT) (14-3) vs Eastern Conn. St. (14-3)

–SOUTH–
*Stevenson (15-1) vs Cabrini (14-3)
*Haverford (13-3) vs Salisbury (15-3)
*Roanoke (17-1) vs Denison (12-2)
*Gettysburg (13-3) vs W&L (15-3)

20080527_final-four-017

I’m a week or so removed from the D3 scene.  Sorry for the absence but it’s make it or break it for some teams starting now. Conference tournaments are underway and will be finished real soon.  I believe that the NCAA Selection show is this Sunday 5/3.

Thanks to all for positive and or critical feedback on the All-Decade team.  Kreiger was a definite miss on my part and deserves a nod.  If I can create a user poll for this team I think I will do that so you all can vote on the Position Players of the Decade and then on a Player of the Decade.

So back to D3land and the big show. I’m a fan of the AQ as it makes conference play that more important.  We saw that first hand this year in the CAC as Stevenson and St. Mary’s defeated Salisbury and almost had them sitting at home while everyone went to the dance.

We have one lock in Salisbury for pounding #1 at the time Stevenson two weeks ago.  No need to worry, the Mustangs will get invited and should be the #2 in the South behind undefeated Roanoke…assuming they win the ODAC.

This week, we have some match ups that will include some fierce inter-conference rivalries.  At stake, a ticket to the dance!

FRIDAY:ncaa_2009-logo
Centennial Semis @ Haverford
Washington College @ #6 Gettysburg 4:00
McDaniel @ #8 Haverford 1:30

Empire 8 Semis
Nazareth @ #3 Ithaca 4:00
Saint John Fisher @ #20 Stevens Tech 4:00

Liberty Semis
Union @ #18 Saint Lawrence 4:00
Clarkson @ Skidmore 4:00

SATURDAY
SUNYAC Finals
#7 Cortland State @ #9 Geneseo State 1:00

NESCAC Semis @ Middlebury
#17 Wesleyan @ #2 Middlebury 12:00
#19 Bowdoin @ #13 Tufts 3:00

Commonweatlth Coast Finals
#16 Endicott @ #12 Western New England 3:00

Middle Atlantic Finals
Widener @ Fdu-florham 1:00

Colonial Finals
Marywood @ #14 Cabrini 1:00

North Atlantic Finals
Mount Ida @ Castleton State 1:00

Skyline Finals
Kean @ Montclair State 1:00

Pilgrim Finals
Wheaton @ Springfield 1:00

Landmark Finals
Scranton @ Us Merchant Marine 1:00

SUNDAY
ODAC Finals
#10 Washington And Lee @ #1 Roanoke

We are “FULLY” underway now!  This marks the first full week of complete D3 action and there are too many games on the calendar I don’t know where to begin.

Some Key Games This Week:
Do We Got It?: #5 Cabrini @ #11 Lynchburg
The Battle of George: #19 Washington And Lee @ #6 Washington College
First Big Test Up North:  #10 Endicott @ #15 Williams - TUES

Game of the Week: #2 Gettysburg @ #3 Cortland State

cortlandgettysburg1

This game will be played on Long Island and not in the frigid Upstate New York air.  Gettysburg has to put Wednesday behind them and focus on the task at had; the 2008 Runners Up.  Its one thing to get beat, it’s another to get a beat down.  I’m sure that Coach Janzyk will have the boys fired up for Saturday.  If not, they could be due for a 5 or so loss season.

On the other side of the ball, Cortland has to prove that they just reloaded and are not going to take a year or two off to rebuild like some expected they would. They have opened up putting up big numbers and it looks as if their offense is running on all cylinders and it’s only March.

Regardless it should be a high scoring battle.  The Bullets pull this one out over the Dragons  and save some face and maybe their season 14-12.

Although it’s quite early here’s a little recap what’s been going on.

1.  The first Major Upset took place on 3/5.
2.  Salisbury is crushing opponents early on…again.
3.  The north is shoveling off the fields and getting started.
4.  The points for the top players have been coming in by the bucket load.

On a side note, with all the hits that Kylor Berkman’s E-Lacrose blog has been getting, it makes me wonder how popular my blog would’ve been back in my days.  But then again weblogs, Myspace and deep fried Snickers weren’t invented yet so I would’ve been writing my posts on locker room walls in hieroglyphics.

We can almost say the season is fully underway.  Once the NESCAC gets going sometime next week, we’ll have ourselves a season here in D3 land.  The action thus far has been kind of slow but games should kick into high gear moving forward.

The game of this past week had to be Stevenson holding onto beat Widener 7-6.  I attended that game and I thought it was kind of sloppy, even in the 2nd half when it all was on the line.  Stevenson relied heavily on holding the ball and playing the clock game.  It worked in their favor but Widener showed some great defensive play in the second half.  I attended the Mustangs tailgate after and that may lead into a new series of blog posts where I review and cover tailgates!  Look for a post about it within a day or two.

The upset or at least a shocker so far this season has to be Mary Washington ousting Hampden-Sydney 9-7.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming after HS had had some hype coming into the season.

Salisbury has answered its critics with vigor by opening up 3-0 and by putting a stamp on their victory over Lynchburg.  This was the first test for the Gulls on their road to 3-peat.  Kylor Berkman looks unstoppable.  I know he put up big numbers against some lower talent, but putting in 4-3 against the Hornets is never an easy task.

This week we have some great match ups.

The Game of the Week: #12 Haverford @ #5 Cabrini
Better Bring Your Mittens:  #18 Western New England @ #3 Cortland State
The Haves or the Have Nots:  #8 Stevenson @ #15 Stevens Tech
Make or Break It Early:  Ohio Wesleyan @ #10 Lynchburg

And don’t forget #2 Gettysburg finally opens up to make their own Championship run at home against Hampden-Sydney on Saturday.

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The Mustang Blog - Part 1

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