We have some new blood appearing in the Division II weekly preview today, and some usual contenders going up against each other. We announce our "Marquee Match-Up of the Week" and highlight some of the top action that will be hitting the diamond across the Division II landscape, including a couple battles for conference leads and a few match-ups that could have some big implications on the end of season regional tournament rankings.
First, our Marquee Match-Up of the Week that will be previewed a little more in-depth later tonight or early Friday morning:
#6 Alabama-Huntsville (19-4-1, 11-4-1 GSC) @ North Alabama (21-5, 10-4 GSC) (3/28 (DH), 3/29 (DH)): This will be our "Marquee Match-Up of the Week" that I will preview in-depth later Thursday evening/Friday morning. While West Georgia is actually leading the GSC in terms of conference record, these two teams would, I believe, be ahead of UWG in the regional rankings if they were being released right now. The GSC plays second fiddle to the SSC in the South Region, but these two teams, particularly UAH, are more than capable of sneaking in and stealing that top regional seed away from the SSC if they stay on the track they are on.
And here are a bevy of other match-ups to keep your eyes on as you peruse the weekend's results:
Armstrong State (23-5, 12-2 PBC) @ North Georgia (18-8, 12-3 PBC) (3/27, 3/28, 3/29): This will be a quality match-up between two of the top teams in the conference, one which is seeing a lot of turnover from week to week as a few teams hand the baton back and forth. North Georgia hasn't found themselves in the rankings yet, but they have a handful of quality victories, while Armstrong continues to impress early on.
Hawaii Pacific (12-9, 9-7 PacWest) @ Azusa Pacific (20-8, 10-6 PacWest) (3/27 (DH), 3/28 (DH)): Neither of these teams are close to the rankings yet, but this is a big series out west. These two teams, along with Point Loma, seem to be the top contenders for the PacWest title and automatic regional birth. The PacWest gets overlooked being in the same region with the CCAA, but APU is an up-and-coming Division II squad. A sweep here could get APU close to the bottom of the rankings.
Missouri Southern State (19-4, 10-2 MIAA) @ Missouri Western State (17-9, 11-5 MIAA) (3/27, 3/28 (DH), 3/29): Two of the top teams in the perennial wringer of the MIAA go head-to-head. Missouri Southern has been a little bit of a shocking team to have the record they do, but they have done it with a pretty decent schedule so far and should stick around for the long haul.
#4 Nova Southeastern (24-4, 6-0 SSC) @ Lynn (23-6, 6-3 SSC) (3/27, 3/28 (DH)): Each week, Nova looks more and more like a team that could find themselves at the #1 spot in the rankings sooner or later. This is a big opportunity for that to happen, taking on a talented Lynn squad. A sweep for Nova could propel them in to the top two, while a Lynn series win would plant them firmly in to next week's rankings.
#18 Flagler (23-4, 11-3 PBC) @ #16 Columbus State (18-10, 6-9 PBC) (3/28 (DH), 3/29): Another huge match-up, and the only one of the weekend between a pair of ranked squads. Flagler just keeps winning no matter what, while Columbus State still keeps beating quality competition, despite their conference record placing them closer to the bottom of the conference than the top. CSU is a dangerous squad that could go on a long winning streak at any point, while Flagler looks like they are in it for the long haul this year.
Truman State (13-4, 6-2 GLVC) @ William Jewell (16-3, 7-1 GLVC) (3/28 (DH), 3/29 (DH)): An interesting match-up here between a pair of teams that not many people thought would be near the top of the GLVC. Truman State gained some momentum after sweeping Southern Indiana, while William Jewell is off to the best start in school history. With as disappointing as the GLIAC has been so far, this could end up being a series that puts the series winner in the driver's seat for the top Midwest Regional seed.