Harvard, Minnesota sent packing by NCAA


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The wait is over, and now it’s time to make your travel plans. The NCAA announced Monday the field for women’s regional action. There were no real surprises at the top. UCLA is the top seed in the West, Arizona State was sent to the Central as the No. 1 team and Duke was named the top seed in the East.

There were a few raised eyebrows on where some teams were sent, but that is common. As usual, the topic discussed most on selection day is who got in and who got left out. And it’s safe to say with the number of e-mails, text messages and phone calls I have fielded, Harvard is at the top of everyone’s list.

Harvard appeared to be a lock for an at-large bid into the postseason before the Ivy League Championship. Heading into the final round of the conference tournament, I thought this could be a historic year for the league - with two teams getting in. It looked as if Penn would win the Ivy’s AQ and Harvard would be the runner-up, still ranked well enough to get a postseason nod.

That did not happen.

Harvard stumbled badly in the final round, dropping to third and losing to Yale. This obviously played a huge role in the eyes of the NCAA Women’s Golf Committee. Even though Harvard is ranked inside Golfstat’s top 50 and the magic number ended up being 61, the committee dropped Harvard roughly 15 slots and out of the postseason picture. Golfweek’s numbers had Harvard in the regional field before the Ivy League Championship and out after the event.

“Definitely disappointed we are not going,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “The biggest thing we needed to do this past week was win, and the bottom line is we did not get our job done. It’s unfortunate for us that we had our worst week at conference. I feel bad for our seniors.”

The other thing that will catch people’s eye: Harvard is ranked 48th in Golfstat and East Carolina is ranked 71st. That’s a difference of 23 spots. East Carolina was the worst-ranked at-large team, according to Golfstat, to receive a bid. The Golfweek rankings had East Carolina (59th) better than Harvard (66th). I don’t recall an NCAA golf committee ever moving teams this many lines in or out – more than 13 for Harvard and more than 10 for East Carolina.

At No. 67 (No. 61 by Golfstat), Colorado State was the worst-ranked team by Golfweek to get in, but the Rams closed the season well, finishing 4th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Minnesota may have gotten the worst of the day’s ordeal, ending the season ranked inside the magic number in both polls - 60th by Golfstat and 57th by Golfweek.

Sources tell me that the last team in came down to Minnesota and the College of Charleston. If that’s true, I am not sure how the Gophers got left out. Minnesota was 2-1 against the Cougars and up 42 shots. Minnesota’s strength of schedule was better and overall head-to-head won-loss record was way better. Even if it was not between those two teams, I’m not sure how Minnesota was left out and College of Charleston got in.

The committee whiffed on not getting the Gophers in.

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