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Duluth with ball against Whitewater in final

A National Champion has been crowned, and we haven't run rankings since before the Sweet 16, so we're in line for some major shakeup. Parts of the Top 25 held up through the postseason, like the part where we had Minnesota-Duluth ranked No. 1 all season, and final four contestants James Madison and UW-Whitewater in the top five all year. Others didn't hold up so well. 

We had New England overvalued, ranking as many as four teams from that league much of the season. Vermont acquitted itself well by getting to the quarterfinals, but the Catamounts were undressed there. New England remains a very competitive league, but some others stepped forward, too. 

It's important to not forget some of the teams that didn't make it into the Round of 16, but were very competitive in the play-in or conference playoff rounds. Vriginia Military Institute, for example, was beaten by just 11 by Towson in the play-in rounds. The Tigers beat Grand Valley State by 25 in the next round, so the Keydets are ranked ahead of the Lakers, who technically made it further in the playoffs.

Another example is UNC-Wilmington. The Seahawks split with Furman in the Southern Conference, losing to the Paladins in the league championship game by just six. Furman went on to fall to Final Four contestand Notre Dame College by just three and beat Roger Williams soundly in the regional consolation game. That all boosts Wilmington's status. 

Consolation games are tough to put much weight on. Teams all treat them differently. Some buckle down and focus, others blood the younger players to get them playoff experience, and some downright throw caution to the wind the night after being eliminated from title contention. So we usually don't give consolation games much gravity, but when games are blowouts, like SLU's win over Colorado College and Bentley's over Oswego, we take that into consideration, and you'll find that's shaped the middle segment of the rankings.  

 

RankPrevTeamFall Finish
11UM-DuluthWon Nationals
24UW-Whitewater2nd at Nationals
36Notre Dame College3rd at Nationals
45James Madison4th at Nationals
52SalisburyLost in 8 to NDC
63TowsonLost in 8 to JMU
79FurmanLost in 16 to NDC
88VMILost Play-in to Towson
914UNC-Wilmington2nd in Southern to Furman
1010VermontLost in 8 to UW-Whitewater
117UW-StoutLost in 8 to UM-Duluth
1221Grand Valley StateLost in 16 to Towson
1312SLULost in 16 to Stout
1419BentleyLost in 16 to Whitewater
1513RowanLost in 16 to JMU
1615Illinois StateThird in WIIL
17Unr.OswegoLost in 16 to Vermont
1820Roger WilliamsLost in 16 to Salisbury
1911Colorado CollegeLost in 16 to Duluth
2016FairfieldLost to Rowan in Play-in
2117Northern IowaLost to Stout in Play-in
22Unr.UMass-Lowell2nd in Rugby Northeast
2318WinonaThird in Northern Lights
2422Rhode Island2nd in New England
25Unr.Cortland2nd in NY Upstate