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The DII national playoff bracket is gradually taking shape, as conference championships wrap up and play-in games sit on the horizon. Two more conferences have to be figured out, Rugby Northeast and New York Upstate.
In Rugby Northeast, Bentley and UMass-Lowell will play Saturday in Lowell, Mass. Bentley won the regular season meeting by 30 points back in September. There are still four teams left in the mix in the Upstate. Cortland plays Niagara in one semifinal, and Buffalo State takes on Oswego in the other. The semis are Saturday and the final Sunday.
This weekend's play-in games are now set. Louisiana Tech, which beat UL-Lafayette in the Deep South final last week, will meet Colorado College in Lubbock, Texas. Colorado College earned its way into the play-in round as an at-large.
Central Connecticut State beat Springfield, 31-19, in the New England Wide final over the weekend. It marks CCSU's second-straight NEWCRC championship. Last year's was good for a spot in the NSCRO playoffs, and this year's nets CCSU a play-in game in DII. Roger Williams is the undefeated champion of the Colonial Coast, another conference new to DII. They'll meet for a Sweet 16 berth.
Towson lost a nail-biter to Salisbury in the Potomac final, and the Tigers will now have to beat VMI to get to the Round of 16. VMI won a miniature tournament over the weekend to take the Cardinals' second seed. This could be one of the most compelling play-in games if VMI can keep pace with Towson. Fighting for a spot in the same region are Fairfield and Rowan. The Stags won big over Vassar in the Tri-State final Sunday, and Rowan finished second in the MARC.
Another intriguing play-in pairing features UW-Stout and Northern Iowa, two former Midwest DI teams. Both were many, many scores behind their conference rivals, UW-Whitewater and UM-Duluth, respectively, during the regular season.