The conference reports were a good idea, so I took some time to assemble a rundown of how every conference fares with five nights remaining in the regular season. Some races are better than others...
ASC -- #4 Texas Lutheran holds one-game lead over #14 Hardin-Simmons. The head-to-head game has already taken place, but three of TL's final five games are against the next three best records in the league. H-S has an easier road as tonight's game against McMurry will be its last against a team with a winning record.
Capital -- Catholic remains unbeaten and unranked and holds a two-game lead over Stevenson, one of only two other teams in the league to hold a winning record.That head-to-head has already occurred, but keep an eye on Jan. 13 when Catholic hits the road to Marymount. It was a two-point game when the two teams met on Catholic's home floor. If the undefeated dream dies, this is likely the spot.
Centennial --- Ursinus has a game lead on Dickinson in the annual head-to-head between the two schools. Nobody else in the league has better than 12 wins, meaning someone will have to stumble badly to change the order of things before the end of the regular season.
CUNY -- Staten Island leads by two games currently over John Jay and Medgar Evers in an all-simmed race.
CCIW -- Northland is undefeated at 11-0 in league play. #17 Martin Luther has one loss. Illinois Wesleyan has two losses. Good stuff here. Martin Luther heads to Illinois Wesleyan tonight. Should they get past that, they host Northland on Jan. 10.
Coast -- Wentworth is 13-0 and chewchad has already locked up no worse than a share of the league title as he's three games clear with three to play. The first two of those games are against teams sporting 2-19 and 1-20 records, so if someone's going to prevent a 16-0, it will probably have to be Colby-Sawyer in Wentworth's season finale.
Commonwealth -- #2 Susquehanna is a game ahead of #13 Penn St. Altoona in the standings. Jan. 10 is the showdown date with Susquehanna hitting the road to PSA. It's two games back to the next team, so this is a two-horse race.
Empire -- Union is undefeated in league play and three games clear of its closest pursuer. Tonight's game at Utica is probably the biggest hurdle to a 16-0 sweep.
Freedom -- Drew is a game and a half up on King's in a simmed battle. They've already played both times this season, so that will probably be the final order of things.
GNE -- #1 Johnson & Wales has a half-game lead over #8 Emmanuel and a full game lead on #5 Suffolk. Circle Jan. 12 on the calendar as that's the date JW heads to Emmanuel. The other late-season drama concerns three possible postseason teams still searching for win No. 14 to lock up national tournament eligibility.
Heartland -- #16 Defiance is 12-0 and three games clear of the field in its quest for a league title. Only a Jan. 10 game at 16-6 Manchester appears to be a threat to perfection.
Iowa -- Buena Vista and Simpson are both 11-0 in league play. They're also three games ahead of the field, so when they collide Jan. 11 at Simpson, it will likely be for the league title.
Little East -- #9 UMass Dartmouth and docwooden are two games clear of the field with a 12-0 mark. None of the remaining games seem scary. The bigger news out of the Little East this season came a few days ago when Massachusetts Liberal Arts snapped what was no less than a 126-game losing streak with a five-point win over W. Conn. St. in league play.
Michigan -- #18 Calvin is one game in front of Eureka. That can even up tonight when the two frontrunners meet in what will likely decide if Calvin wins the conference outright or will be forced to share with Eureka.
Midwest -- What a mess! Rose-Hulman currently by a half-game over Monmouth and Beloit and a full game over Lawrence, but somehow none of those three teams are left on RHIT's schedule, so the deck is stacked in their favor.
Minnesota -- St. Olaf is two games clear of Macalester and Hamline. Should it get there, a Jan. 12 game at Hamline could loom large, but only if sim-coached St. Olaf slips to someone else before that.
NESCAC -- #20 Bates leads by a game over Tufts and by two over Connecticut. They have no more games remaining against either of those two pursuers, however. Simmed Bowdoin (17-5) is the toughest thing left on the platter.
New Jersey -- Rutgers at Newark is a game up on College of NJ. They'll meet Jan. 12 at CNJ to settle things.
N. Atlantic -- Johnson St. is one game up on Castleton and Thomas, but ought to hold on as their their final three games all come against teams with losing records.
NCAC -- #12 Wooster and unranked Wittenberg are side-by-side at 12-1 and three games clear of any challengers. Slight advantage to Wooster, but neither school has a game remaining against an opponent with better than an 11-10 record currently.
Northwest -- #25 Whitworth is two games clear of both Willamette and George Fox. Three of its four remaining games are against teams with winning records, but none against the two challengers.
Ohio -- John Carroll and Otterbein are tied at 11-1. Capital is a game and a half back, so three team race. Otterbein goes to Capital on Jan. 10. John Carroll will sit back and watch, knowing its toughest opponent the rest of the way is currently 11-10.
ODAC -- Lynchburg is a game in front of Emory and Henry in what is a two-horse race. Lynchburg hosts a game between the two schools on Jan. 10 that will probably decide whether there's a solo champ or a split title.
Penn -- Cabrini, Babson, Springfield and Misericordia all have three losses in conference play. Gwynedd-Mercy and Eastern have four losses in the conference. That's SIX schools within a game of each other atop the conference with only five nights left in the regular season!. Unfortunately, only Babson is human-coached and his only game against any of those other five simmed frontrunners is tonight at Eastern. If he can get through that unscathed, then he should at least share the league title.
Skyline -- #3 US Merchant Marines can lock up at least a share of the league title tonight. They have a three-game lead on Manhattanville and Old Westbury so this race is, essentially, over.
So. Cal. -- #11 Whittier is one game in front of #15 CSU, Eastbay and #21 Colorado with three games to play. They also don't play a game against a team with a winning record the rest of the season. Eastbay is at Colorado on Jan. 13.
St. Louis -- Webster by three games with four to play over a pair of sims. The race is pretty well settled in mschulte24's favor.
SUNY -- SUNY Potsdam is undefeated at 13-0 in conference play and two games clear of Brockport and SUNY Oneonta. They're at Oneonta on Jan. 10, the only likely stumbling block to perfection.
University -- #6 Ozarks is a game up on #7 Southwestern with #19 Louisiana two games back. A game against 16-5 Emory is Ozarks' toughest remaining contest.
Upstate -- Washington(Mo.) is a game up on Rensselaer Poly. Tonight's game against New York U is the best chance for the leader to tumble over the final three games.
USA South -- #10 N. Carolina Wesleyan and Greensboro are knotted atop the standings and two games in front of any pursuers. Greensboro has the friendlier final three games on the schedule. NCW has a Jan. 13 home game against 16-7 LaGrange that con't be overlooked.
Wisconsin -- #23 Wisconsin Superior and Wisconsin Oshkosh are tied with Concordia(WI) one game behind. Superior heads to Oshkosh on Jan. 11.