7 min read

The weekend before the weekend (before the weekend)

Conference tournaments start, but more coming this weekend, Selection Sunday is a week away and the newsletter is back.

Well, it took all year for me to get frustrated enough with short form tweets to head back to the newsletter, but to all my 2019 newsletter subscribers, we back baby!

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Let’s dive right in and break down some conference tournament results.


The SELC tournament was important because with 3 teams in the (current) Top 10, someone was going to build a Top 5 resume by winning it. After bringing home the crown South Carolina has done that, and probably more.

South Carolina has won 10 straight games, with their last 4 being wins over #8 Clemson, #24 Auburn, #5 Florida, and #7 GT.

That’s as many Top 10 wins within 10 days as any other team has all season. On top of those wins, they also have a win over #1 Virginia Tech (the only team to beat them this year), #16 Chapman, #15 Grand Canyon, and #23 Cal Poly.

Looking at the computer rankings, RPI has the Gamecocks slightly edging out BYU for #1 and puts their strength of schedule at #4 in DI. The only team in the top 25 with a higher SOS is Cal Poly (#2).

I think there may be a strong case to be made that South Carolina has a case for a Top 3, if not Top 2 seed at Nationals.

Currently nobody has more Top 10 wins and nobody has more Top 20 wins than they do. If you value great wins (we have heard in the past the selection committee does) they are hard to overlook as a top seed.

In the rest of the SELC I think there is a really strong case to take both Georgia Tech and Florida.

It might feel like Florida has slipped to the bubble with only 2 Top 25 wins, but the Georgia Tech win on the road is a massive win. I’m a big believer that the computer rankings aren’t the only right answer, but they are a really helpful tool. In the case of Florida I think they show that they have several wins that are solid, but not Top 25 (according to the coaches poll).

Are wins over Georgia and FSU really that much different than CU or UCSB? I’m not arguing that either team should be ranked ahead of UCSB, but I think they should be looked at as similar wins.

The computer rankings all have Florida in the 8-11 range. I think that’s probably fair with their resume. Barring any shocking conference upsets, I think they should be in Round Rock.


Minnesota completed their undefeated season in dramatic fashion, holding on to beat Michigan State in double overtime.

Maybe that’s a bit closer than you’d expect, but the word is that Minnesota was playing without some key pieces this weekend. Also this game was awesome. Michigan State will end the season unranked, but that undersells how good they are. I’ve seen several games from 20-25 teams. MSU is right there in terms of talent (but polls rank results, not potential).

So now the big question is how high does Minnesota rise on Selection Sunday.

They have wins over current #11 Arizona State, #14 Arizona, and #22 Colorado State. Add the 2 wins over a solid Michigan State squad with the Dominican win looking a better than it did at the time and the resume is solid.

I went back to see if I could find a historical equivalent to Minnesota to see what seeding they drew.

I didn’t have to go that far. I think 2019 New Hampshire is a pretty solid comparison.

The Wildcats went undefeated in 2019. Going into Selection Sunday they had the CLC AQ and wins over then:

#18 Clemson
#21 Boston College
#14 Connecticut
#13 Michigan State

Seems close enough for a fair comparison? Both teams travelled (one of the Selection Committee’s stated criteria in the decade old interview), both teams won their conference, and both teams went undefeated.

The Wildcats drew the 8 seed in 2019.

Not super comforting if you are a Gopher fan.

Now, one of the key differences MAY be where they landed in the poll. Headed into Selection Sunday New Hampshire was ranked #9. Minnesota is currently ranked #6 and I can’t see them falling much in the next week.

Because we don’t have a lot of insight into the Selection Committee process it’s hard to guess where the Gophers end up.

What shouldn’t be overlooked is that in a year where inconsistent results plagued nearly every DI team, Minnesota was the only team to run the table. That’s gotta be worth something.


When is the last time the RMLC championship was won by such a large margin? Based on my research/memory, it’s been a really really long time.

I realize you can’t completely write-off the Texas loss the week before, but if I were a coach in the MCLA watching BYU this weekend, I’d pray they end up on the other side of the bracket.

BYU has had some good defenses in the past, but I don’t think they’ve ever had one that can compare athletically to this group. Rob Richardson (6’4”), Taylor Mason (6’4” and RMLC Rookie of the Year) and Levi Smyth (6’0”) show up to the pre-game lineup looking like the average NCAA DI defense. They back it up with athleticism that shines when pressuring the ball and especially in transition.

Behind them you have the best goalie to ever play at BYU, Mason Moon (RMLC Defensive Player of the Year). They are a very good unit.

Texas showed that they aren’t impenetrable, following a blueprint from Virginia Tech a few days earlier to put up 13 goals in the first half alone, but the bounce back this weekend was noticeable. If a team in Round Rock isn’t able to handle high pressure, they are going to have an issue against BYU.

On the other side of the field, they have what I consider to be one of the all-time great attack lines in BYU history.

What makes them so good is their balance. If you stop one for a game, one of the other two is bound to pop up with a big game (see Freshman Alton Taylor’s 5g game vs Concordia). Check out how balanced their stats are for the year:

Jake Halversen | 34g | 25a | 59p
Alton Taylor | 41g | 17a | 58p
Seth Garff | 31g | 25a | 56p

They are averaging 15.1 GPG right now. It’s an insanely efficient unit.

If there is an achilles heel for the Cougars it’s at the X. On the year they have been fine with primary FOS Corin Frey winning 58% of his draws, but looking at a few recent games, they’ve run into some issues with face-offs.

Liberty: 29%
NC State: 48%
Virginia Tech: 19% (based on VT’s stats)
Texas 40%

We don’t have stats posted from the RMLC tournament, but the eyeball test says they were much better than that, but face-offs are certainly one of the few concerns they have heading into Round Rock.

In terms of the rest of the RMLC, nobody else is even on the bubble, which actually hurts BYU more than anyone. Historically you could bank on picking up at least 1 Top 10 win if you won the RMLC tournament. It was a nice additional boost to your resume headed into the tournament. This year BYU beat #21 and #22 to win the ‘ship.

For the second straight tournament (not counting the Invitational last year) the RMLC is a 1 bid conference. Strange times.

With Texas leaving next year, the RMLC DI is going down to 4 schools again.

I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the RMLC. It really is time to merge it with the PNCLL. Ready to give my stump speech on-demand about this.

Quick Hits

🥍 The RMLC DII and the UMLC DI both had Defensive Player of the Year awards go to players who didn’t make First Team All-Conference. Call me crazy, but if you are the player of the year, you should probably also be first team.

🥍 Including Honorable Mention, the RMLC DI gave out 51 All-Conference awards. For a 5 team league. It didn’t work out this way exactly, but the math says if you were a starter on your team, congratulations, you were also All-Conference.

🥍 Speaking of All-Conference awards, if you are disappointed in how your team was represented, or a seemingly deserving player got the shaft, the first place you should look is at your team awards committee member. I’ve sat in on the RMLC awards process in the past. We often leaned on the pitches from other coaches about why their guy is deserving and made impassioned arguments about why ours was instead. Want more All-Conference awards? Make better pitches. In fact, let the MCLA help you and nominate your guys for awards every week. Great way to get on the post-season award watchlist.

🥍 Arizona State getting DQ’ed for eligibility issues is a major bummer. Read this thread from their coach about the situation. As I said on Twitter, as much as it’s a sad situation, rigid eligibility rules are one of the things that separates the MCLA from the average club league. That doesn’t change how much the situation sucks.

🥍 This coming weekend is going to be awesome. I’m most excited for the ALC tournament, but the WCLL and SLC tournaments have a chance to really shake up the National Tournament with an upset or two.

🥍 We are putting some plans together to try and do a Selection Sunday Show leading up to the Tournament selection. Keep your eyes on twitter for details.

Next time we’ll try to keep it to less than 3 years between issues.

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