RINDGE, NH – The NCAA has released the teams that will participate in the 2016 NCAA II tournament during its Selection Show on may 15, 2016. There are eight regions in the NCAA II, and the winner of each regional tournament will go on to the College World Series, in Cary, North Carolina.
For the East Region Tournament, the seven teams that earned bids (either through winning their conference tournament or being selected by the NCAA committee) are (in order of seeding):
- Franklin Pierce Ravens (45-6)
- Southern New Hampshire Penmen (45-5)
- St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans (35-15)
- Felician Golden Falcons (33-19)
- Bridgeport Purple Knights (27-22-1)
- Molly Lions (31-21)
- Dowling Golden Lions (27-23)
The East Region, to be honest, has two giants. Two teams that had no intention of losing this year. For the 5 other teams in this region, these two teams have set the benchmark.
We started this season stating that we thought the Franklin Pierce Ravens was not only the team to beat in the East Region, but we went out onto a limb and stated we even believe they have the personnel in place to make it to the final day in Cary. We are still not backing away from that assessment.
The Southern New Hampshire Penmen were also easily on our short list for the region to start the season. And they have not proven us wrong. Which is why they rose into the Top 10 nationally this season and stayed there. The Penmen have shown they can play with anyone, and stand on equal footing with the Ravens. We expect the East Region final to be between these two teams. And you had better believe, we will have that game on LIVE.
St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans are no stranger to our rankings, nor the postseason. They easily dominated regular season in the East Coast Conference, but stumbled in the conference tournament. They will get a chance to redeem themselves when they kick off with Molly, who knocked them out of that tournament. While they are the #3 seed, the Spartans are going to have to make a big jump in consistency in order to make it through the two teams above.
The Felician Golden Falcons won the CACC tournament this year, which is why they appear here in New Hampshire for the East Region Tournament. And their record this year has been pretty good after a very slow start. While all of this is true, that slow start was due to going 1-7 against the top two seeds in this tournament. And many of those games were not close. While we see an early win for the Falcons against Bridgeport, we believe Felician will probably run into the same brick wall that they ran into at the start of the season. But hey….everyone is 0-0 right now!
Welcome to the show, Bridgeport Purple Knights. We are sure they were waiting anxiously as the NCAA announced that at large bids. The Purple Knights found some key wins this year against many of the teams in this bracket. And they made it all the way to the championship game of the East Coast Conference Tournament, losing to Dowling. While making it here in 2016 will definitely help their program move forward and to start building a yearly championship program, there are monsters in this bracket. And we are just not sure the Purple Knights will be able to slay them.
The Molloy Lions are another team this year in some of the regions that just kind of pushed their way onto the scene. Another good team in the post season, the Lions just did not have the signature series wins this year that would give us hope that they would be able to stand up to some of the teams in this bracket. While they may yet prove us wrong…we are not sure the Lions will be playing deep into this next weekend.
The Dowling Golden Lions have played this year, we believe, partly on reputation. This is an annual post season club, and is always in the mix when anyone is talking about teams in this region at the start of the year. While there are some horses that can play with anyone on this team, there may be too many holes that cannot be overcome in order to make it through the two at the top of this bracket.
If we flipped a coin between the Ravens and the Penmen, we would have an equal chance of predicting who is going to Cary. We seriously don’t see any of the rest of the field making it through these two teams. Since it really is a toss-up between these two teams…and we have to chose…we are going to stick with our preseason prediction and go with the Franklin Pierce Ravens to be sitting in Cary in two weeks.
Click HERE for all tournament brackets & schedules