WSR's Division 2 Central Region Top 10
by DAN LEE & STEVE CASSON, WebSports Radio staff
12/22/08 - SPRINGFIELD, MO - One of Steve’s favorite sayings is credited to Gordie Howe: “Hockey players are bilingual; they know English and profanity.”
Gordie could add sportscasters to that comment as well. Unexpected splits and sweeps have really thrown a monkey wrench into the poll process this week, and have both Steve and I pulling our hair out. If you don’t believe me, take a look at how Steve’s week began with this chart.
Amazingly enough, Steve and I came out pretty similar through the first five slots.
Then chaos reigns.
For instance, do you leave Michigan in after losing six in a row (including two to RMC-Chicago and stompings by GVSU and Ohio State) at the expense of kicking Illinois State out following an impressive split with DePaul? Steve thought so, I did not.
Having seen both, I still think ISU is a better team than Iowa despite Iowa sweeping Missouri State and the Ice Bears sweeping ISU. ISU played close with the Bears at their best, while Iowa caught the Bears at their worst.
In fact, Steve almost put ISU above the Ice Bears as well. But the fact remains, you can’t put Iowa anywhere but ahead of the other two and MSU ahead of ISU based on head to head and good wins vs. bad losses.
Long story short, there is plenty of room for error in our bottom five, extended down to about 12 th place (if we went that far). But hey, we’re unofficial so it’s not like we are going to cause global warming if we’re wrong!
Having practically apologized in advance, here’s the WSR Unofficial Period 3 Central Region DII poll presented to you in vibrant Georgia, Times New Roman, Style 93:
#10 - Missouri State (Maroon) - Steve: 10 - Dan: 9
Steve: “My first inclination was to put Illinois St. (Redbirds) in this spot because of their split with DePaul. But then I see their split with Kansas. Can a split make a difference in a ranked position? For that matter, can a sweep? (See #4 and #8, and Steve‘s chaotic chart) So, I have to take into consideration Missouri State's good wins (handing Florida Gulf Coast their first loss of the season, Iowa State D1, ISU Sweep) and the not so good losses including a one goal game against Davenport and defeats by Lindenwood and Iowa. Games with Ferris and Central Michigan in January will also tell if the Ice Bears stay ranked.”
Dan: “Yes they slipped against Iowa, but they have won or played well against a very strong schedule overall. I’m not ready to count them out yet. The schedule stays tough, so we’ll see.”
Next Game: Friday, January 2nd, 2009 Vs Missouri in Webster Groves, Missouri.
#9 - Michigan - Steve: 6 - Dan: N/R
Dan: “ Michigan is falling apart, plain and simple. Six straight losses, including a sweep by RMC-Chicago. That means they have to be below the Ice Bears, who swept the Eagles. The Wolverines aren’t far out, but they will have to re-earn my respect to get back in.”
Steve: This was the toughest decision to keep the Wolverines here as again they were pushed to a sub .500 record. The big plus for me is they have an extremely tough second half schedule with Florida Gulf Coast, Davenport, Grand Valley and Lindenwood among others. Dan just needs a Christmas gift from the Wolverines. Send them to: Mr. Dan Lee Grinch, P.O. Box 143......”
Next Game: Friday, January 9th, 2009 Vs Robert Morris - Springfield
#8 - Iowa (Gold)- Steve: 8 - Dan: 8
Steve: “ Handed Missouri State a pair of losses at home, which is hard to do. Split with Iowa State D1 but was swept by St. Thomas. The Hawkeyes second half schedule is not that strong, but if they keep winning, it will be a matter of time before they can leap ahead of St. Thomas. A meeting with D1 Illinois may tell if they are really for real.”
Dan: “Strong goaltending and an ability to capitalize on numerous unforced turnovers put Iowa ahead of the Ice Bears, both in the two-game sweep and in our poll. Give them their due, they played mistake free and as a unit (especially defensively), and that is how it’s done.”
Next Game: Friday, January 16th, 2009 Vs Northern Michigan.
#7 - Illinois - Steve: 9 - Dan: 6
Dan: “A sweep by Lindenwood knocks them down a peg, and it may just be their lack of games that is slowing them down. Still a solid squad though.”
Steve: “Swept by Lindenwood in the only games the Fighting Illini played. Have a good ability to regain some spots with Florida Gulf and DePaul on the second half schedule. I still have a problem with playing D3 teams though FGCU's D3 is no slouch.”
Next Game: Friday, January 9th, 2009 at Nevada-Las Vegas
#6 - St. Thomas - Steve: 7 - Dan: 7
Steve: “Good sweep against Iowa and split with DePaul. I see the Tommies ranked for now, but with only 5 more games on their schedule, St. Thomas is going to be hard pressed to stay ranked at the end.”
Dan: “ St. Thomas is coming on strong, and a solid record while handing DePaul a loss is not going to hurt them.”
Next Game: Friday, January 9th, 2009 at Eastern Michigan.
#5 - Lindenwood - Steve: 5 - Dan: 5
Dan: “I’ve never liked the fact that they have a D1 roster to play with for the first half of the year, because I never know what their final team down the stretch is going to look like. But you can’t deny what they have accomplished so far. Sweeping Illinois puts them up again.”
Steve: “Split with Ferris State and took two from Illinois, but we'll see how long they maintain this spot. With the exception of Michigan, the second semester is lighter than other teams trying to catch the Lions.”
Next Game: Friday, January 9th, 2009 Vs Robert Morris - Springfield
#3 - (Tie) DePaul - Steve: 4 - Dan: 3
Michigan St. - Steve: 3 - Dan: 4
Steve: “DePaul posted a sweep of Lindenwood. And since there is avocation that sweeps of teams should seem to dictate where the team should end up in the rankings, the Blue Demons will maintain the 4th spot in my book. Did they get back to splitsville with games against Illinois State and St. Thomas? Next semester will tell.
As for Michigan State: honestly, I don't like putting a sub .500 team (from the information I have been able to gather) this high over other teams with stronger records. But if we're looking at the schedule, and not wins and losses, then the two time National Champions will stay here.”
Dan: “Splits with ISU and St. Thomas showed some cracks in DePaul’s armor, but they are still close to the top. Michigan State only lost to D1 teams this period, and not by much. I think the Spartans will get stronger as the year progresses, as they normally do. There is a reason they have won the title twice in recent years.”
Next Game: DePaul: Friday, January 9th, 2009 at Northern Illinois.
Next Game: Michigan St.: Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 Vs W. Michigan at the MCI - Tournament.
#2 Grand Valley State - Steve: 2 - Dan: 2
Dan: “They only played one game this period, but it was a biggie. Beating D1 Oakland 4-3 in a shootout was no small accomplishment, and with DePaul faltering slightly the Lakers move back up on my ledger.”
Steve: “Might as well just keep the Lakers in second spot. They get an automatic bid to the Nationals as the second seed in the Central since they are the host team - as long as they make the top ten - which they will do. It takes all the guess work out of the next 8 spots.”
Next Game: Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 Vs Central Michigan at the MCI - Tournament.
#1 Davenport - Steve: 1 - Dan: 1
Steve: “Lost to Ferris State 4-2, despite having several power play opportunities in the second period. An empty netter with a minute to play stretched a closer games' score. Still a solid lock at the top spot."
Dan: “If you think a close loss to Ferris State is enough to bump them down in a 25-2-0 year, you’re loonier than Steve.”
Next Game: Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at Michigan State.
Also receiving votes (points): Illinois St. (Redbirds) Steve: N/R - Dan: 1
Keep An Eye On: Michigan, Ferris St., Minnesota, Central Michigan, Kansas, Northern Michigan
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