Considered a virtual shoo-in to be chosen as one of 61 teams to the NCAA Division III playoffs, the Linfield Wildcats must wait until Monday, May 7, to learn where they might be heading to compete in the 2012 tournament.
Linfield players, coaches and fans will find out together who and where the Wildcats could be playing when the regional playoffs begin on Thursday, May 10. In announcing the tournament field May 7, the NCAA will stream a live internet selection show on starting at 7:20 a.m. PDT on NCAA.com.
The Northwest Conference champion and defending national champion Wildcats won 38 of 43 games this spring, capturing the program’s ninth consecutive conference crown.
Although Linfield was overtaken by NWC rival Pacific Lutheran for the conference’s tournament title and the automatic berth to the NCAA playoffs, the Wildcats’ resume appears more than sufficient to earn an at-large berth. In addition to three wins over fifth-ranked PLU (36-11), Linfield also owns doubleheader sweeps of No. 13 Redlands (29-9) and No. 22 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (25-11). Redlands won the regular-season championship of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference while CMS was the SCIAC postseason tournament champion.
In the season’s first set of regional rankings released April 26, Linfield is rated third in the West Region, trailing Texas-Tyler and Pacific Lutheran. The West listing also includes Redlands, East Texas Baptist, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Willamette.
Though the NFCA national coaches poll bears no relevance in the selection process, the Wildcats have the added distinction of being ranked No. 1 in eight of 10 weekly polls this season.