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DII Men College Games And Picks: Playoff Time

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DII Men College Games And Picks: Playoff Time

Last week we were 32-5 in picking winners, and most of the wrong picks were the fault of the Northern Lights Conference, where MSU Moorhead came out of almost nowhere to beat everyone and win it all.

Had we bothered to make a pick for the Sunday playoffs that 86% strike rate would have dipped a bit.

This week it's all, OK, mostly, about the playoffs. Several conferences have their playoff weekends, while others are just finishing off the league season, but it's all about getting to a climactic end to the fall.

Some Notes:

The Mid-Atlantic changed up their playoffs. After Lehigh beat Shippensburg 23-3 (another pick we got wrong), it became clear that Shippensburg had fielded a couple of players earlier in the season without registering them with USA Rugby. Those players also played on Saturday. Meanwhile, York filed a complaint about the standard of field at Villanova. The game was played (Villanova won) but the complaint held.

The upshot is that those playoff games were thrown out, and this weekend will be a two-day playoff weekend, with the semis (Lehigh vs York and Villanova vs Scranton) on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

"We were pretty happy with our performance [against Shippensburg]," said wing/center Nick Stefanidis. "Our defense has been getting stronger and we take pride in it. Our goal is to be physical and to come up hard and put teams under pressure."

With that pressure, Lehigh was able to move the ball quickly and score, too. Luke Weir has moved up from fullback to flyhalf and has done well, while lock Brett Kaufman was a terror.

Memphis and Middle Tennessee State play each other as the only two undefeated teams in the SCRC Tier 2. MTSU has played well, but their are not deep, and will need everyone to chip in. Memphis will host and looked pretty solid last week, running out to a big lead over Mississippi State and holding on after the subs rolled in.  

“We are so ready for MTSU," captain Musa Banat said on the team's website. "We lost by one point the last time we played and we are a much better team this year."

Against common opponents, we can really only judge two games (as MTSU won the other common opposition game y forfeit). Against Auburn and Mississippi State, Memphis won 41-0 and 31-19. MTSU beat those teams 63-0 and 51-14. That might indicate MTSU is the stronger team, but looks can be deceiving.

Queens University, led by a solid effort all the way through the lineup, beat Virginia last week to go undefeated. The plan was to have a #1 vs #2 game this weekend, but the UVA players apparently voted not to show, so Queens won't play (PS, they need a game, so anyone interested in playing QUC in the next week or two, give them a call) and will win the Cardinals Conference by default.

The Tri-State has its playoffs, too. RPI seems to sneak by teams every week, and won a quarterfinal last week that should not have been that close. But RPI has als pushed the US Merchant Marine Academy more than anyone else, so that's a difficult game to pick. William Paterson has peaked at the right time.

"We are quite low on experience this year and we've been battling injury," said Head Coach Kisset Chirengende. Six starters were out due to injury during the season, but they got four of them back for a key league game against RPI at the end of the regular season. That helped WPU come back from an 8-5 halftime deficit to win 22-20 and secure the first-round bye.

"RPI enjoyed the lion's share of the possession and territory and our boys did a really good job to repel the RPI onslaught," said Chirengende. "In the second half we started to play our shape and dictate proceedings better."

Ian Barrett leads the attack at flyhalf and also kicked a difficult conversion to secure that win. John Barker, Isaac Belloso, and John Guerriero lead a solid forward effort, but Marist has a very potent offense.

Gateway also picks its champion this weekend with semis on Saturday and final on Sunday. As usual this is a very tight conference, but UMS&T is solid. 

The Deep South sees Spring Hill against last-place UL-Lafayette, so Spring Hill is well-favored. The other game is between 3-1 University of New Orleans and 3-0 SE Louisiana, as those teams chase Spring Hill.

Check back for scores 

Date       Conference Picks
11/1/19 Central Connecticut St. vs Springfield NEWCRC  
11/2/19 Montana State 84-19 Colorado Mesa Rocky Mt. SFs MSU by 12
11/2/19 Northern Colorado W-L Western Colorado Rocky Mt. SFs UNC by 20
11/2/19 Virginia Fft L-W Queens Cardinals Final NA
11/2/19 Furman 29-0 UNCW Southern PL Furman by 14
11/2/19 UNC Charlotte 24-22 Citadel Southern PL UNC-C by 9
11/2/19 ECU 12-54 North Carolina Southern PL UNC by 16
11/2/19 Lehigh 32-24 York MARC SFs Lehigh by 6
11/2/19 Villanova 62-22 Scranton MARC SFs Villanova by 20
11/2/19 Norwich 60-5 Providence Rugby Northeast SFs Norwich by 18
11/3/19 UMass Lowell 20-0 Bentley Rugby Northeast SFs Pick 'em
11/2/19 Southern Connecticut Ppd Vermont NEWCRC UVM by 20
11/2/19 Coast Guard 19-32 Boston University NEWCRC BU by 12
11/2/19 Quinnipiac 28-0 Sacred Heart NEWCRC QU by 28
11/2/19 GVSU 45-15 Oakland University Great Lakes GVSU by 18
11/2/19 Calvin College 15-65 Bethel Great Lakes Bethel by 30
11/2/19 Ferris 36-34 Saginaw Valley St Great Lakes Pick 'em
11/2/19 Eastern Michigan 0-28 Central Michigan Great Lakes CMU by 25
11/2/19 UW-Whitewater 79-10 UIC Great MW QFs UWW by 30
11/2/19 Marquette 19-10 Northern Iowa Great MW QFs Marquette by 7
11/2/19 Illinois State 24-12 Northern Michigan Great MW QFs ISU by 20
11/2/19 Loyola-Chicago 27-17 Minnesota-Duluth Great MW QFs UMD by 6
11/2/19 UL-Lafayette 5-89 Spring Hill Deep South Spring Hill by 30
11/2/19 SE Louisiana 39-12 New Orleans Deep South Pick 'em
11/2/19 UMS&T 63-7 SIU Gateway SFs S&T by 15
11/2/19 St. Louis U. 17-22 Pitt State Gateway SFs SLU by 11
11/2/19 Auburn vs Mississippi State SCRC MSU by 5
11/2/19 Middle Tennessee St. 15-27 Memphis SCRC Pick 'em
11/2/19 Dallas at Houston Lonestar Pick 'em
11/2/19 UT Dallas 12-64 Sam Houston State Lonestar SHSU by 16
11/2/19 UT San Antonio 78-15 St. Edward's Lonestar UTSA by 20
11/3/19 York vs Scranton MARC 3rd/4th  
11/3/19 Villanova 38-15 Lehigh MARC Final  
11/3/19 William Paterson 26-19 Marist Tri-State SFs WPU by 5
11/3/19 USMMA 19-30 RPI Tri-State SFs USMMA by 7
11/3/19 UMS&T 43-17 Pitt State Gateway Final  
11/3/19 SIU vs SLU Gateway 3rd/4th
11/3/19 Northern Colorado 28-29 Montana State Rocky Mountain Final