Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cal Lutheran's Nick Ballou Done for the Season

I was told this morning that Ballou will have surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back and will no longer be playing this season. It's unfortunate for the Kingsmen, but his health is the most important thing given that he's only a sophomore. This is an injury dating back to last spring that never healed. I have no doubt in my mind that he's seriously injured, but I just can't help to wonder if the same decision would have been made had the Kingsmen finished in the top 4 this past weekend and maintained their top 10 ranking. Either way what's done is done, so I guess we'll never know.

The significance of this runs throughout D3. Cal Lu still has 12 ranked teams on their schedule this spring, but the teams that are impacted the most are fellow Pool C competitors. Despite CLU's bad weekend, given their schedule and the quality of their team, you had to think they would pull out enough wins to qualify for the NCAAs through Pool C. Given the injury to their top player, I don't think they have much of a chance anymore, especially since their lack of depth was on display in Virginia. It's almost like an extra spot has opened. CMU and Williams have to be breathing a huge sigh of relief given that they are near locks for the tournament now if they do what they are supposed to. The biggest winner in all of this is Redlands who now went from a probable 3rd in the conference to an almost definite 2nd. I think the Bulldogs will be competing with Bowdoin, DePauw and Chicago for the 5th and 6th Pool C spots. Teams like Trinity (CT), Newport and Pomona-Pitzer even have Pool C life. This unfortunate event has really opened things up and if the Kingsmen somehow manage to come together as a team and make the tournament minus Ballou, they should be incredibly proud of their efforts. We will see how they fair this weekend against Pomona-Pitzer.