Regional breakdown: A look at postseason picks
Lance Ringler's College Golf Page
The NCAA announced the 81-team postseason field on Monday, which always sparks talk about which site is the toughest from which to advance.
The eyeball test tells me that the regional being played at Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind., was the strongest, and running the numbers proved my eyes did not fail me. Looking at the Golfweek/Sagarin Power Ratings of the teams in each regional, the average power rating at the Indiana site is the lowest, meaning that site is indeed the toughest. As an aside: When computing these numbers, the automatic qualifiers that would not have been selected as at-large teams into the postseason were excluded from the calculation.
Golfweek/Sagarin SPRING Season Rankings
- Oklahoma State
- Georgia Tech
- Texas A&M
- Augusta State
- San Diego State
- Texas Tech
- Southern California
- Arizona State
- Kent State
- San Diego
- East Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- Kennesaw State
- Wake Forest
- Middle Tennessee State
- UC Davis
- North Carolina State
- North Florida
- New Mexico State
- North Texas
Something else to think about when it comes to the Indiana site is that the field includes four Big Ten teams - Illinois (2), Iowa (3), Indiana (7) and Michigan (9). Each of these programs has experience at Wolf Run and while Illinois and Iowa have been in the top 20 all year, the Hoosiers and Wolverines were in the top 30 at the end of the fall season.
The weakest regional, according to the numbers, is in California, where the teams will play at The Farms Golf Club in San Diego. This is good news for those seeds looking to pull off an upset.
Rank / NCAA Regional Sites / Power rating
- Indiana 71.74
- Virginia 71.80
- Florida 71.81
- Arizona 71.85
- Colorado 71.87
- California 71.98
Spring Power: There are several teams that jump out when talking about which teams enter the postseason with great form. Obviously Oklahoma State, the top-ranked team in the country, is playing as well as any team. The Cowboys have lost to just three teams all spring and six teams all year. Alabama and Florida are the only teams that finished ahead of Oklahoma State twice.
Seven teams enter regional play with a single digit in the spring loss column - Oklahoma State (3), Alabama (4), Missouri (6), Iowa (7), Texas A&M (7), Illinois (7) and Pacific (9) (only using stroke-play tournaments).
Magic Number: Using the Golfstat Rankings, the Magic Number this year was 69, which is consistent with the past couple of seasons. Last year it was also 69 (2009-10), and the year before it was 68 (2008-09). The highest yet was in 2007-08 season when it was 73.
The reason the magic number was so high four years ago was that four teams were not eligible for postseason because of the .500 Rule. Since then, teams have figured out how to finish the year with a winning head-to-head record. No team this season fell victim to the .500 Rule.
First team out/last team in: Lamar was the last team to get an at-large bid, while the University of New Mexico and the University of Idaho were the first teams left out. The Lobos finished the season ranked ahead of Lamar in the Golfstat poll and the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. Idaho was ranked ahead of Lamar by Golfstat, but behind Lamar by Golfweek. San Jose State also got in and was likely in the mix with this grouping of schools.
Bottom line: San Jose State and Lamar are in, New Mexico and Idaho are out.
“If we are in that position, we didn’t have the year we wanted to have. We had our chances to play our way in there,” said New Mexico coach Glen Millican.
Individual Madness: Forty-five individuals get invited to participate in regional competition. A number this large can only cause issues, because the further down the list you go, the greater the possibility that problems will surface.
There are two examples worth mentioning here. One was an issue involving John Popeck, a junior who played for the University of Maryland during the fall season. Popeck, who left the team after the fall season because of personal reasons, still is included in the rankings. His Golfstat rank of 174 clearly was good enough to get noticed (ranked No. 151 by Golfweek). NCAA member schools are required to submit any roster changes to the NCAA to avoid this sort of mishap, but clearly that did not happen. The NCAA replaced Popeck with Marshall’s Christian Brand.
The second example involves Idaho, a bubble team that was left on the outside of regional play. The Vandals’ top two players - Damian Telles and Jarred Bossio - would be postseason-bound as individuals. However, only one got that call, and he could be considered the No. 2 player on the team.
Bossio will play as an individual in the Colorado Regional, but Telles will not. Telles was voted by the WAC coaches to the first-team all WAC, while Bossio was a second team selection. Telles, who lost in a playoff at the WAC Championship, was 5-3-1 against his teammate on the season and up eight shots. Telles was ranked No. 234 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and Bossio was ranked No. 236. Golfstat had Bossio ranked better.