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Midwest Regional Poll


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The only poll that means anything is supposed to come out tomorrow for the first time this year. My GUESS is that the poll will look something like this:

1. Pitt St.

2. Central Mo.

3. UNO


5. Emporia St.

6. UND

7. St. Cloud

8. Concordia-SP

9. Winona St.

10. Northern St.

Winona St.'s loss yesterday really threw a wrench into things. They likely would have been ranked third or fourth. Now, who knows? They really can't be ranked ahead of Concordia, who beat them yesterday, since they both have one loss. Concordia lost to USD, which is probably one of the weaker teams in the NCC, so they can't really be ranked very high, either. St. Cloud has two losses, but both were on the road against quality opponents. It should be interesting...

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IMO it won't be much different than Jeff Harlin's list.

Winona St loss on the road keeps them above C-SP.

1. Pittsburg State

2. Central Missouri

3. North Dakota State

4. Nebraska-Omaha

5. Emporia State

6. North Dakota

7. Winona State

8. Northern State

9. Concordia-St. Paul

10. St. Cloud State

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First, to demonstrate that I have no clue what I'm talking about, thereby rendering my predictions nearly meaningless, is this actually a poll or is it that crazy new ranking with all the SOS, in-region play, etc... stuff (which I clearly don't yet understand)? I'll proceed assuming a poll, because otherwise we could have just calculated the rankings. So, without further ado...

I would expect Winona to stay ahead of Concordia despite the H2H result because that loss for Winona was to a good team, whereas Concordia lost to USD (a team that bafflingly oscillates between looking good and not). I'd go with BisonMav's NSIC order of Winona, Northern St, Concordia.

I do like UND92,96's idea that SCSU would be ahead of the NSIC teams because their losses were on the road to more highly ranked opponents and because of the general strength of the NCC vs. NSIC (I don't think the perception of relative strength of the conferences is affected much by the Jackrabbits loss to Winona, and Mankato's loss to UMD is essentially meaningless right now). I could even construct arguments that SCSU should be ahead of UND, but the difference in number of losses and the fresh H2H result make that an unlikely actual poll result.

I'd agree with UNO over NDSU, but it all depends how they value certain things (the two have played very different schedules). I was tempted to give undefeated Emporia the nod over NDSU/UNO but chickened out just as I hit submit (again, it's tough to rank teams with such dramatically different schedules), though DEFINITELY agree they're ahead of UND.

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The midwest regional poll is the rankings that will determine what four teams get in the playoffs at the end of the year.

That's about the one thing I did know about it :) With all the talk about replacing the regional selection criteria with a new point system, I was wondering if this was now just a calculation of those points rather than an actual poll.

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While I do understand HOW strength of schedule is calculated (I think), I'm a little confused as to exactly how it's used. Is it the primary criteria, or just one of several? The NCAA handbook listed on the NCAA website is the 2002 edition, so if the criteria have changed, I'm not sure how. In any event, I attempted to calculate the current s.o.s. index for each of the probable ranked teams. Keep in mind that ONLY games against dII opponents count when calculating s.o.s. index, so NDSU's number is based ONLY on games against Tusculum, SDSU and MSU-Mankato.

1. NDSU (6.66)

2. Emporia St. (6.4)

3. (tie) Central Missouri St. (6.25)

Concordia-SP (6.25)

5. Pitt St. (6.2)

6. UNO (6.16)

7. (tie) UND (6.0)

SCSU (6.0)

Winona St. (6.0)

10. Northern St. (5.75)

My earlier predictions didn't take into account these numbers. As most people would probably agree, relying purely on s.o.s. can cause some pretty absurd results, i.e. Concordia-SP tied for third and Pitt St. in fifth.

FWIW, I don't see how Winona could be ranked ahead of Concordia since they have the same record, Concordia's s.o.s. is higher, and whether it's "officially" a primary criteria or not, I have to think that head-to-head results will still mean something.

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FWIW, I don't see how Winona could be ranked ahead of Concordia since they have the same record, Concordia's s.o.s. is higher, and whether it's "officially" a primary criteria or not, I have to think that head-to-head results will still mean something.

That's a great example of the benefit of mathematical systems. My quick eyeballing favored Winona because they lost to a tougher team, but I certainly agree that the overall SOS certainly is a much more meaningful number.

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Here's the real poll:


1. Pittsburg State (5-0)

2. Emporia State (5-0)

3. Nebraska-Omaha (5-1)

4. North Dakota State (4-1)

5. North Dakota (4-1)

6. Winona State (5-1)

7. Central Missouri State (5-0)

8. St. Cloud State (4-2)

9. Concordia-St. Paul (4-1)

10. Northern State (4-1)

I'm very surprised by how low Central Missouri is ranked, and shocked by Winona being ahead of Concordia-SP (and Central Mo). Either my strength of schedule calculations were way off, or Winona's ranking makes absolutely no sense at all. But at least UND is ranked higher than I anticipated.

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Edit: I had a big long post of how the rating system was supposed to work (strength of schedule is supposed to be one of seven equally-weighted criteria) but now looking at UND92,96's post I wonder what in the world the system really is. I have a feeling we'll hear more on this tomorrow.

Central Missouri must be getting punished for having the weakest non-conference schedule in the region.

Now seeing Jim's post, I better put back the original post:

Primary criteria (from Greg D., DII Guru):

1. Strength of schedule (Division II only).

2. Won-lost record.

Overall won-lost record.

Division II overall won-lost record.

In-region won-lost record.

In-region road record.

Won-lost record against nonconference regional opponents.

3. Record against ranked teams (last regional ranking).

4. Results against non-Division II teams.

5. Head-to-head competition.

6. Results against common opponents.

7. Eligibility and availability of student-athletes.

Not a plug-in-the-numbers-and-out-pops-a-ranking system. It's just as subjective as before.

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Hey, I did alright! UNO over NDSU, Winona over Concordia. Even my sleeper that I didn't quite dare pick, Emporia over UNO/NDSU.

Of course, I did transpose Concordia/Northern State; and though I understand making CMSU #7, I don't see how CMSU is #7 when Emporia is #2. Oh, well.

Tony -- thanks for the info. I guess that's why I've been baffled, I assumed it was a "plug in the numbers" system, but have never been able to pin down the exact numbers. The subjectivity explains why I've had troubles getting a definitive answer.

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Huh? Are you implying that I wrote something I didn't?

UND has the weakest non-conference schedule in the conference, not the region. I don't even think I wrote that before because it'd be no fun for me unless there were UND fans disagreeing True, there were guys with UND-like monikers claiming that NDSU's non-conference schedule was weak, but I kinda thought those "UND fans" might really be NDSU fans posing as UND fans. If not, mocking somebody like that is kind of like UND scheduling schools that offer ten or so scholarships (i.e. embarrassing to all involved) :)

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UND has the weakest non-conference schedule in the conference, not the region.

I believe The Sicatoka's comment was tongue-in-cheek and not directed at anyone in particular.

I think this topic has officially been beaten to death, but for the record UND's non-conference opponents have a combined record of 8-7 thus far--hardly a disgrace. Even UMC managed to hammer Southwest State last week so it's not even as though UND played the worst team in the NSIC. The problem with proclaiming anyone's schedule as strong or weak before or early in a season is that we have no way of really knowing until probably near the end of the year which opponents were truly good and which were not. As it stands right now, it appears that UND played one pretty good team (Mesa is ranked second in its region for now), one average team (Newberry is 2-2), and one poor team. All in all, probably not as bad is most thought prior to the season. And clearly, all signs point to a stronger schedule in the near future.

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Whew! Touchy.

If you look closely, you'll see that is aimed more at UND than even you. And it wasn't aimed at you as much as all the people who complained about UND's non-conference schedule.

You just happened to be the one to give me the perfect set-up. Thanks! :)

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UND92,96 Posted on Oct 6 2003, 10:00 PM

.....one average team (Newberry is 2-2), and one poor team. All in all, probably not as bad is most thought prior to the season.

Sorry, but I would classify Newberry as a "Poor Team". If you look at their schedule, they may not win again. They play Carson-Newman, Tusculum and Catawba the next three games. Probably finish anywhere from 4-6 to 2-8. Mesa St looks better than originally thought.

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UND92,96 Posted on Oct 7 2003, 08:38 AM

You're free to classify them however you want. I specifically said in my post that it's difficult to truly classify a team's schedule until near the end of the year because nobody--not even you--can really know how any given opponent's record will pan out. I also said that AT THIS POINT, it appears Newberry is an average team. That opinion is based more on talent than what their record may turn out to be, anyway. I figure than any opponent with that kind of offensive talent that provides a serious challenge to the defense is an opponent worth playing. Heck, they've already doubled their win total from last year so at least they're improving.

UND is the only quality game they have had this year. Newberry defeated a NAIA team that is 0-4, 3-6 last year, and a fellow SAC team that is 2-3, 3-7 last year. Their offensive talent may have been good, but the whole team has to play. I have no problem with your opinion, I just have a different one. That doesn't make me wrong, and it doesn't make you wrong.

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Sicatoka, HAHAHAHAA! I only asked you what you meant. What we got here is a failure to communicate.

Look at it from my perspective: you quoted me and then (it seemed to me) implied that, contrary to somebody's (whose?) opinion, UND's non-conference schedule wasn't the worst in the region. I wanted to know whether you thought I had said something like that. Your style of expressing yourself puts a burden on your readers, for they are forced to extrapolate your meaning from hazy implication and a series of smiley face icons :)

I clarified my opinion: UND's non-conference schedule is the weakest in the conference. For example, what would happen if Montana played Mesa, UC Davis played Newberry, and Tusculum played Crookston? Ugly as those games would be, the the NCAA might end up calculating that UND's schedule is comparable (or even better) than NDSU's... IMO, they'd get a more fair rating by averaging existing computer rankings. As always with DII, the stress is not on fairness but on evening the playing field by putting bad teams into the playoffs at the expense of good teams.

DII thinking: Your team is getting spanked in the playoffs? Well it's because the other teams are offering too many scholarships. Here, let's cut them by 5! Your team still losing? Let's cut them by 4 more! Strong teams from the same conference meeting in the championship game? Let's put them in the same bracket and have them play in the first two rounds. Still not happy? Let's move the MIAA and NCC into the same region! Still not happy? Let's put 20 teams in the playoffs, come up with a rating system that defies logic, and then shuffle the regions to make sure the weakest conferences are grouped together. If you're still not happy (and nothing short of being given a national championship will do that), we'll cut scholarships again this winter. Note: Just so you know - I'm not angry about this (don't read it with the angry voice). I think it's kind of funny.

The beauty for you and UND about the non-conference schedule debate is that it doesn't really matter - it's just something to bicker about while we wait for the big game. If UND wins the games they should and they take care of business at home, they will get into the playoffs regardless of their strength of schedule, or lack thereof, and they will have a conference championship to boot.

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I'm having difficulty understanding your opinions on this subject because of your hazy implications and lack of smiley face icons... For the benefit of the siouxsports.com board, please edit your posts accordingly. :)

Seriously, you are correct about the polls not mattering. It does give us fodder to throw around on Sun-Fri, but like you said... it all comes down to winning the important games.

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You're right. We did have a failure to communicate.

You provided a nice opportunity to point out that UND's non-conference schedule, although not spectacular, wasn't the worst to be found. Some UND fans needed to hear it.

(I worried that you'd construe it to be a shot at you when it was intended for schedule nay-sayers in general. It was a risk but I went with it anyway. Sorry.)

About DII thinking:

Sadly, it appears to be prolific across the whole NCAA.


- A 65 team DI basketball tournament that maybe a dozen and a half have a legitmate chance at winning, but you have to let them have their (alleged) shot.

- DIII trying to make the DIIIs that play DI in one sport (Colorado College, St. Lawrence, RPI, Union, Clarkson in hockey, Johns Hopkins in lacrosse) not give scholarships to their DI athletes.

- All the things you mentioned in DII.

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airmail, point well taken. Did you mean my post lacked both hazy implications and smiley face icons and that when in Rome, I should write like the Romans do?

BTW, I did think the comment about your ficticious neighbor over on Bisonville was pretty funny too.

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Here's the new poll:


1. Pittsburg State (6-0)

2. North Dakota State (5-1)

3. North Dakota (5-1)

4. Winona State (6-1)

5. St. Cloud State (5-2)

6. Nebraska-Omaha (5-2)

7. Emporia State (5-1)

8. Concordia-St. Paul (5-1)

9. Northern State (5-1)

10. Central Missouri State (5-1)

Wow, have things changed from just a few years ago. Who would have thought that an NSIC team could be ranked in the top four one week removed from a loss? It's looking like it will be a battle between the NCC and the MIAA to see who gets a second team in, because unless they lose again, Winona is in for sure. Fortunately, the NCC seems to have the inside track since both Emporia and Central Mo. are now ranked pretty low and still have to play Pitt St.

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