Didn't quite get this done before the first exhibition games took place, but here's the preseason rundown for Rupp D3. Discuss at your leisure and enjoy as always...
American Southwest — Texas Lutheran (blapo21) gets the preseason nod ahead of Hardin-Simmons, which had a rough recruiting period and brings 3 walkons into the year.
Capital — I’ll go with Catholic (bistiza) by an eyelash ahead of Simmed York (PA) and a 10-man Gallaudet. This is bistiza’s first season in Rupp, but he carries a .639 win percentage across all HD worlds, so this isn’t exactly a rookie coach stepping in.
Centennial — A long 37-season NT run by Ursinus (barjaz) got snapped last season as they settled for a PIT title in Collegeville. They’re the favorite to win the title and restart the process this year.
CUNY — Brooklyn (seanweber) is the only human coached team, and since he’s an experienced coach I’ll say that llifts him over CCNY, which might have slightly better numbers. But only slightly. It has been 11 seasons since an NT appearance for Brooklyn.
CCIW — Illinois Wesleyan (unlikelyhero) has an elite-level team this season and could be under-ranked at No. 8 preseason. In his fourth season at the helm, unlikely is looking for his first NT appearance after going two deep in the PIT last year.
Coast — Colby-Sawyer (mcandrews) by a nose over Wentworth. Colby-Sawyer looking for improvement over a 14-14 mark last season and mcandrews’ first postseason trip as a head coach in four seasons.
Commonwealth — Penn St. Altoona gets my nod to lead the Commonweath this season. It’s not as strong a team as he fielded last season, but it is plenty strong enough to make waves in national circles as he goes for his 16th consecutive NT berth.
Empire — Vassar (theriddler) will get a good chase from Union, but should have enough to come out on top at season’s end. Vassar has been to the NT for 37 consecutive seasons...likely Rupp’s longest active streak.
Freedom — Scranton (artie40) is the only human-coached team and should ease through the league. Scranton snapped a long NT drought last year. Now artie is looking for an unheard of back-to-back appearance.
GNE — The Evil Empire had a down year last season, but should swing back this year with three teams that should push elite status. Of that group, Rivier (jack_duck) should be slightly better than Johnson & Wales and Newbury, both of whom would be favored in most other leagues.
Heartland — Defending national champion Defiance (carl3298) will find the road to a repeat title challenging, but he will take the first step by winning the Heartland and returning to the NT. From there, we’ll see...
Iowa — Buena Vista (westcoast22) is severely underranked at No. 17 this preseason. After going 29-4 and reaching the Elite Eight last season, there’s no way this team isn’t top 10, possibly top 5 material.
Little East — East Connecticut St. (cjones4mvp) gets the nod here over a preseason ranked UMass, Dartmouth side in what should be a tight race. ECSU is going for its seventh straight NT appearance, but hopes to snap its streak of one-and-dones for cjones.
Michigan — Calvin (prc56) should lead a crowded and jumbled field in the Michigan as Eureka seems best-poised to give chase. Calvin was Elite EIght material last season.
Midwest — We’re talking the Midwest, so we’ve got to be talking about Rose-Hulman Tech (nachopuzzle). The longtime powerhouse will be running with 10 men this season, but that’s nothing strange here and nacho just keeps on winning.
Minnesota — St. Scholastica is the only team to begin the season with a team ranking above 500, so the Minnesota is likely to be kicked around this year. St. Scholastica is looking for its first NT in nine seasons.
NESCAC — Connecticut (rwright) is the team to beat in the NESCAC, but the pursuers are drawing closer. Will that be enough to prevent a sixth-straight 15+ win conference season for Conn? Stay tuned...
New Jersey — Okay, forget what I just said about the Minnesota. The New Jersey has nobody in the 500s for team score. New Jersey City is the best of the lot, and I use the term best loosely. Whoever represents this league will likely do so as a 16 seed.
North Atlantic — The North Atlantic is back to being Johnson St. (mrtickles) and the nobodies. After going 14-14 in his first season, mrtickles holds a roster that starts nearly 50 points better than the 11 Sims in the North Atlantic. This should be a cakewalk.
NCAC — Wabash (bigtexhawk) is the pick in the North Coast. After a slide back to 18-13 and a PIT appearance last year, Wabash should be back above 20 wins and dancing by season’s end.
Northwest — Chapman (redsoxrootr1) is breaking onto the elite stage this season. After back-to-back 20-win seasons, Chapman could be jumping to the next level this season and will be the team to chase down in the Northwest.
Ohio — John Carroll (whit6r) dropped from 27-6 to 18-12 last season. They could bounce right back up to near 27 wins this season as this roster is solid from top to bottom. That’s bad news for Capital, who would be called the favorite in at least half the Rupp leagues this year.
ODAC — Lynchburg (barney1974) by a nose over Emory&Henry this season. Lynchburg carries a No. 25 preseason ranking and is hoping for its third straight NT appearance for barney.
Penn — All-simmed again, the Penn frontrunner is...Alvernia?...which hasn’t won more than 10 games in a season since its last NT appearance in Season 57.
Skyline — US Merchant Marines (lynchmob1414) is still the favorite and gets the No. 6 ranking preseason, but the gap is closing in the Skyline. USMMA is working on back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.
SoCal — There’s a new sheriff in town as Colorado (bdpoor) breaks to the front of the pack in the SoCal. They could make that break to the head of the class nationally as well. A third consecutive 20-win season is all but in the bag for bdpoor.
St. Louis — Dominican gets my nod as a sim team after going 22-8 and playing one round into the PIT last season. It could be a five-team race, with a clear fall off after that. Both human programs will be in that five-team pack.
SUNY — There is a lot of basketball talent in New York. None of it is on display in the all-sim SUNY, where 483 is the highest-ranked team preseason. That’s Brockport, and that’s as good a bet as any to take a 16 seed alongside the New Jersey conference. Brockport’s last NT came in Season 31.
University — Millsaps (brianxavier) gets shafted by the pollsters after finishing as national runner-up, but still gets some love from me. I think he’s a smidge better than Louisiana, Southwestern, Rhodes and Sewanee, all of whom could contend and really clutter the standings.
Upstate — Brandeis (lhrr) with a nod ahead of NYU and RPI. Brandeis is looking for a trip back to the NT after going two deep in the PIT last season.
USA South — After failing to go 16-0 in league play for the first time in four years, Greensboro (tilldog28) is back and looking to make amends. He’s also sporting a snazzy No. 1 ranking and bulls-eye in the preseason. N. Carolina Wesleyan has the best shot of hanging the loss on them.
Wisconsin — It seems I never get this league right from year to year. This time, I’ll curse Superior with the preseason favorite’s call ahead of EauClaire. Superior is coming off a 16-12 season a year ago.