2015 D-III College Championships - Men's Division Preview

Posted: May 15, 2015 08:09 AM


2015DIIICollegeLogo 435x290  

Sixteen teams will have a chance to take home the championship in the fifth year of the D-III College Championships to be held in Rockford, Ill., on May 16-17.

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The Event

There are two telling facts for this weekend.

The first is that this year, Division III teams have shown that they have become stronger than ever before. While the schools featured in this division are smaller than their D-I counterparts, they should not be thought of as any lesser on the field. In 2010, the first year of the D-III College Championships, the qualifying schools carried a combined 0.467 winning percentage against D-I teams. This season, they have a combined .598 winning percentage. For some, games against D-I opponents are hard to come by, leaving them to play other D-III opponents instead. But the improvement in combined winning percentage speaks (see the numbers here) to the increased competition in this division, the vast improvements the schools have made to become successful on the national level and the great many people playing our sport at a high level.

The second fact: Division III still lacks interconnectivity. Perhaps by design, none of the pool-play games feature rematches from the regular season. Even if they did, they would be few and far between and little help in predicting the outcome of this tournament. While this setup is unhelpful for scouting and game planning, something that has become a large part of the sport on all levels, it does make the tournament particularly interesting. The 2014 tournament featured teams breaking seed and dropping heavily from the rankings they held coming into the event. This year, no doubt, will follow that trend.

Pool A

2015CollegeLogos Franciscan M   2015CollegeLogos John Brown M   2013College Middlebury O   2015CollegeLogos Davidson M
  John Brown


Franciscan Fatal comes into the D-III Championships with a perfect record on the season, with 10 wins in the regular season, and another 12 wins through the postseason. However, each game of Pool A will be the first time they’ve seen their opponents all season. Their opponents? Two teams with storied histories in the division and another making their debut at the event. John Brown comes to the Championships for the second consecutive year, and Middlebury won the event in 2013 in thrilling fashion. Davidson enters the tournament with much to prove as well, after surprisingly earning the second bid from the Atlantic Coast Region. Middlebury had a strong tournament at D-III Easterns with wins over other Championships qualifiers, and John Brown has the depth to run with any team in attendance and isn’t afraid to run up the scoreboard. It won’t be easy for Franciscan to stay undefeated at this tournament.

Pool B

2014CollegeLogos Brandeis M   2012CollegeLogo CarletonGOP O   2014CollegeLogos Claremont M   2012CollegeLogo NorthPark O
  Carleton College
  North Park


Similar to Pool A, none of the teams in Pool B have seen each other this season. Brandeis TRON and Carleton College GOP are familiar though, as GOP eliminated TRON in the quarterfinals of bracket play at last year’s D-III Championships. Brandeis has had a fantastic season, opening strong at D-III Midwestern Invite and ending it in the same fashion during the postseason. Carleton College has a similar story, with a few losses to strong D-I opponents over the course of the season. Claremont, the third seed in this pool, has had a strange season: they played at the Stanford Open in early February, took two months off before playing at the Southwest Conference Championships, and have waited another month for this tournament to arrive. They’re an unknown commodity in this pool. North Park has traveled quite a lot this season, with varied results across those tournaments. The Lost Boys proved to be a difficult draw in their first three appearances at this event. Now in their fourth appearance, we will find out if that trend continues. Whoever comes out of this pool on top will undoubtedly have been pushed to the limit.

Pool C

2014CollegeLogos Elon M   2014CollegeLogos GeorgiaCollege M   2015CollegeLogos Bowdoin M   2015CollegeLogos Truman State M
  Georgia College
  Truman State


Each of the teams in Pool C has sought out a challenge this season, and this pool is just another one for the four contestants. Elon Big Fat Bomb is coming off a disappointing second-place finish at last year’s D-III Championships. But an extremely strong D-III Easterns and undefeated play through the series has Elon back in position to reach the finals and avenge last season. Georgia College has had a shorter season, only starting play at College Southerns in late March, but has been able to put up dominant results ever since. Bowdoin Clown have rebounded nicely from disappointment at Spring Awakening III with only two losses since and enter this season’s Championships with a deeper roster than years prior. Lastly, Truman State JujiTSU may be a different team from last season, but they still possess a dangerous roster. After their season was close to ending at the Northern South Central D-III Conference Championships, they stormed through Sunday play and beyond, only losing to fellow-qualifier John Brown at South Central Regionals to qualify for the tournament. If Elon seeks to improve on last season’s second-place finish, they first have to survive three teams that are playing near the top of their game.

Pool D

2015CollegeLogos Lewis Clark M   2014CollegeLogos SUNYGeneseo M   2015CollegeLogos Bryant M   2012CollegeLogo StOlaf O
Lewis & Clark
  St. Olaf


Pool D may have the least interconnectivity of any of the pools in this tournament, with two teams staying largely in-region and one unexpected qualifier. Since Colluvium in late January, Lewis & Clark Bacchus hasn’t lost a game, going undefeated over two tournaments. An up-and-down season for SUNY-Geneseo Snail had them come out strong during the start of the postseason, with two big wins over SUNY-rival Fredonia. Bryant Craze has stayed in the New England area for their tournaments this season, seeing many of the same opponents, but their strong play at regionals against overall tournament two-seed, Brandeis, helps paint a picture of the strength of this team. The St. Olaf Bezerkers may not have had the regular season they hoped for, with five losses across the tournaments they attended, but they’ve been able to win when it counts through the postseason series and qualified over other favorites in the North Central region. Each of these teams has to have the confidence that this pool favors their recent play.

Games to Watch

2015CollegeLogos John Brown M 2013College Middlebury O  

John Brown (8) v. Middlebury (12), Sat. May 16, 1:00pm

With Franciscan coming in undefeated, and if they’re able to continue, the game between John Brown and Middlebury will be key in determining placement in the pre-quarters games late on Saturday. Each team boasts a strong regular season, but can they perform against opponents they haven’t seen much of outside of this event?

2014CollegeLogos Brandeis M 2012CollegeLogo CarletonGOP O  

Brandeis Tron (2) v. Carleton College-GOP (7), Sat. May 16, 2:45pm

Two of the highest performing D-III teams from the 2015 regular season meet in a game that could determine who receives a bye into the quarterfinals on Sunday morning. Against one common opponent, St. John’s, each team came out on top by a large margin; this game could go either way.

2014CollegeLogos Elon M 2015CollegeLogos Bowdoin M  

Elon (3) v. Bowdoin (10), Sat. May 16, 9:00am

Elon will face a test early in the tournament, seeing Bowdoin at 9:00am on Saturday. That both have played and beaten fellow-qualifier Middlebury gives some insight into the game. But testing Elon early may be the key to this game for Bowdoin, as Elon lost each of their first games of their regular-season tournaments.

2015CollegeLogos Lewis Clark M 2014CollegeLogos SUNYGeneseo M  

Lewis & Clark (4) v. SUNY-Geneseo (5), Sat. May 16, 2:45pm

Each team comes in riding a winning streak. Each team has hopes to win their pool and enter the quarterfinals without having to play in pre-quarters late on Saturday. This game could decide who ends Saturday on top.

Fast Facts

  • This is only Franciscan’s second year of existence as a team. They enter the tournament not only without a loss, but ranked #27 overall by USA Ultimate.

  • The Middlebury Pranksters won the event in 2013 and return to the D-III Championships after competing in Division I last season.

  • The highest finisher from the 2014 event is Elon Big Fat Bomb, who comes in seeded third.

  • Overall, nine teams return from last season’s event for this year’s D-III College Championships.

  • 2015 is the first time the event has been played in Rockford, Ill., at the beautiful Rockford Park District Sportscore 2 Complex.

  • Like spending time outdoors? Spend tournament downtime in the area surrounding Rockford! There’s over 20,000 acres of green space, with golf courses, four rivers and a state park to enjoy.

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