Gene's Blog: One-time playoff switch for MBB
August 06, 2012
Many Division III sports fans may be unaware that next year’s national playoffs in men’s basketball will undergo a one-time revamp.
As part of the 75th season of NCAA men’s basketball celebration, the 2013 Division II and III championship games will be played Sunday April 7 in Atlanta at the site of the Division I Final Four. The games will be played the day after the D-I semifinals and one day ahead of the title game.
The traditional Division III men’s playoff format would return in 2014 with a Final Four played in a preselected site in late March.
Since the switch extends the 2013 postseason by two weeks, decisions had to be made on how to schedule the entirety of playoffs. Several scenarios were considered, but the NCAA Management Council is recommending a change from two games to one in each of the first three weekends.
Instead of taking one week off as some advocated, the NCAA men’s playoff field will be announced as usual, next year on Monday Feb. 25. First-round games to trim the field to 32 will be played on Sat. March 2. Single games will be held on Sat. March 9 and Sat. March 16 to trim the field to 16 then eight, respectively. The eight will advance to Salem, Va., for quarterfinals and semifinals on March 22 and 23. The two survivors will have two weeks off before playing in Atlanta for the championship.
When the Tommie men captured the 2011 NCAA title in Salem, they won six games at three sites over 16 days. Next year’s champion will need to win six games at five sites spaced over 37 days.
For teams fortunate enough to still be playing in March, drawbacks include a longer season, the potential for games that interfere with spring break, and a 15-day wait for the two teams to play the championship game. Besides the obvious benefit of more national exposure for the title game, the proposed 2013 format would feature more on-campus games and the potential for better atmosphere with fewer neutral-site games.
The Presidents’ Council is expected to approve the measure when it meets this Thursday.
The NCAA is considering a similar one-year concept for the women’s basketball playoffs, possibly as soon as 2015 when it celebrates the 35th year of the women’s tournament.
The great majority of Tommie athletic events are played in Minnesota, including many in the Twin Cities. But St. Thomas athletes will also compete in at least 14 other states during the 2012-13 school year.
A quick scan of Tommie varsity sports schedules lists games and tournaments nearby in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, plus a few other events as far away as Indiana, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kentucky, Arizona, South Carolina, Washington, Vermont and Texas.
Last year’s travel included most of those states as well as competitions in Missouri and Michigan.
The list of states could grow for 2012-13, too, if St. Thomas teams make a deep postseason run in sports like football, soccer, basketball and hockey.
One sport with a busy travel docket is men’s golf. After playing last spring break in Arizona and competing in nationals in May in Florida, the St. Thomas men are scheduled to compete this fall in Wisconsin, Kentucky and Florida. All-America sophomore Alex Kapraun has been invited to a late December tournament in Arizona.
NCAA D-III championship sites in 2012-13 are Terre Haute, Ind. (cross country); Naperville, Ill., (indoor track and field); LaCrosse, Wis. (outdoor track and field); San Antonio, Tex., (soccer); Shenandoah, Tex., (swimming and diving); Salem, Va., (football); Holland, Mich., (volleyball and women's basketball); Atlanta (men's basketball); Kalamazoo, Mich., (tennis); Miramar Beach, Fla. (golf); Appleton, Wis. (baseball); and Eau Claire, Wis. (softball). The men's and women's ockey sites have yet to be announced.
Despite being double teamed by the Marburg Mercenaries’ defense, St. Thomas grad Fritz Waldvogel again displayed his versatility to lead Saturday’s 61-45 win for the first-place Schwabisch Hall Unicorns in the German Football League.
Marburg came in with a 5-2 record and was expected to give the Unicorns their toughest test yet. Waldvogel was limited to 61 reception yards on seven catches but still rolled up 290 all-purpose yards on 14 touches. His three touchdowns came via a 77-yard punt return, a 26-yard rush and a seven-yard reception.
Since Waldvogel joined the squad in late May, the Unicorns are 7-0 and averaging 58 ppg in their bid to repeat as league champions.
Waldvogel has collected 21 touchdowns and 1,907 all-purpose yards in seven games. He leads the GFL in scoring per game, all-purpose yards per game and reception yards per game.
Schwabisch Hall (7-1) plays again next Saturday at home against the Saarland Hurricanes.
Over his last six seasons of football dating back to his senior year at St. Thomas Academy, Waldvogel now has scored 16 touchdowns off kick and punt returns (three at STA, 10 at UST, three with Schwabisch Hall).