Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is the Play-In still the destination?

As soon as the final horn sounded on the Mount's NEC championship Wednesday evening, the next question became where will the Mount's next game be and who will they play.

With an RPI hovering around 150 and a record of 18-14, it seemed possible if not likely that the Mount would head to Dayton, Ohio for the "play-in" game or as the NCAA refers to it, the opening round game.

We'll know for sure tomorrow night. But at this point it looks like there are a couple of possibilites that could exclude the Mount from the Play-In.

First off, I think the SWAC champion, which will not have a winning record is guaranteed to be one half of the matchup. Mississippi Valley State (who you may recall beat the Mount in overtime in Milan Brown's second game five years ago) plays Jackson State later today for the right to represent the conference.

Then there are three or four others that I think could be play-in possibilities.
1) If Hartford beats UMBC in the America East (going on right now and UMBC leads 28-8 early - so it seems unlikely) the Hawks and Mount would have similar resumes.
2) The Southland championship will be decided later today between Texas-Arlington and Northwesten State. NW State would have a losing record even with the win, while UTA has a RPI similar to the Mount and less wins.
3) Coppin State has made a dash through the MEAC championship all the way to the finals. They play Morgan State later. Coppin has a losing record and a 200+ RPI. There has been a notion in the past that the NCAA does not want two Historically Black Colleges in the game, but might be forced to if both teams have losing records.
4) Another unlikely possibility would be Cal-Irvine. The Anteaters are close to 150 in the RPI as well and play for the Big West championship later tonight.

So its possible, although not sure how likely that the Mount could avoid the Play-In.

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