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DII Playoff Bracket's Out. Who Should Be Ticked

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DII Playoff Bracket's Out. Who Should Be Ticked

Jeremy Fleming photo.

USA Rugby has released its Men's DII College playoff bracket.

Here's how it looks:


For those who don't want to scroll around looking at the picture, here's the breakdown:

Minnesota Duluth will face off with the #3 team from the WIIL in a play-in game next week.

The Southern #2 (UNC-C or Furman) will play Louisiana Tech on that play-in weekend, also.

The Midwest winner, IUPUI, will take on the WIIL #2.

The Southern #3 (Coast Carolina or ECU) will have a play-in with the Cardinals #2.

The winner of this weekend's Oswego v Geneseo Upstate NY final will play the Rugby Northeast #2.

Those are all of the play-ins.

WIIL, Gateway (Pitt State), Great Lakes (Grand Valley), Northern Lights (NDSU), Rocky Mountain (Montana State or Western State), Rugby Northeast, NEWCRC (Hartford), Tri-State, Cardinals, Southern (UNC-C or Furman), and MARC all get conference champion seeds into the playoffs.

However, some will be distressed to see no additional play-ins.Perhaps it is harshest for Bethel, which pushed GVSU very hard, and for the #2 team in the MARC, which promises to be very close. In addition, while the New England Wide conference hasn't always been the strongest, but it is extremely competitive, and the top three teams are very close. There is also no room for (or no interest from?) Vermont.

Rugby Northeast produced a top four team last year, and Norwich could well win it all this year, the Cadets are that strong, so it seems right for a Rugby Northeast #2 to get a shot. The Southern produced the national runner-up in 2016, but giving that conference three seeds, especially since one of the semifinals lost by 50 points last week, seems a bit generous. Consider that the 2016 MARC winner, Rowan, lost in the quarters to Norwich, in a very competitive match, and is now tearing up the MARC DIAA conference. It's not unreasonable to look at Bloomsburg and York and see little difference between those two MARC teams, and get that conference a play-in.

The Southern might deserve a play-in for its #2, but it's a stretch to say the Southern #3 deserves it more than the MARC #2 or Great Lakes #2, or even the Upstate NY #2.